Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More about a subject I know nothing much about

1. Approximately 40% of the Dems and approximately 66% of the GOP thought the bailout plan as presented was not good.

2. From both sides of the aisle (B. Frank last week and a Republican Rep from NJ on NPR this morning) comes the "charge" that the very urgency of the passing the bailout or face economic disaster is part of a self-fulfilling prophecy being peddled by the White House and Treasury Secretary.

3. Republican constituents are calling in/emailing 10-1 against passage of the bailout.

4. Neither party or presidential candidate wants to totally commit to the wisdom of the bailout (due to the fear it won't work and is a bad idea-especially in an election year.)

5. One of my senators is against the bailout, one is cautious about it, and my representative in DC is for it.

For all this, I can't see the wisdom of hasty action out of fear and panic-not good combinations. (Note that if you see political ads-which we don't in SC as we are not a swing state as Ohio is-both candidates are running on fear of the other more than anything else.)

If the Dems really want a bailout, they can do it without the GOP-but they are afraid to. Isn't this a sign they aren't confident in the plan itself?-or is it simply political fear?

No one (*I suppose some do, but only on the fringe) wants wholesale bankruptcies and high unemployment, inflation, etc. (I would be the first to lose my consulting income which is an integral part of our economic survival especially with discretionary spending, i.e. books, very low, if a deep recession hit) but I don't think the case has been made for this BIG power grab by the executive branch.

I think our economy is headed for the rocks one way or another within the next 10-100 years (broad prediction that!). I don't think this is the crisis-bailout or not-which will sink the ship.

Of course as the title to the post disclaims-I really don't know what I am talking about....

Oremus pro invicem!

Bailout notes and a modest proposal

Funny or not so funny: our two candidates only gingerly supported the bailout (afraid to commit) but now blame each other for its failure. It's not over by a long shot. As stakes heighten, we'll scare them into accepting the power-grab.

TS mentions that old Newt would vote to accept the bailout. A week ago he was totally against it and cautioned for cooler heads to prevail. (We shouldn't rush into anything so big was the gist of his comments I heard.) I wonder what happened to change his mind?

Enough of this! I am on the road a bit today, so I am sure I will get an earful.


Been thinking on some things for a while and want to "share"....

I have known the ups and downs of the job market and the economy in my career(s), being laid off twice, been through more than one company failure and buyout. A four year degree has become more of an indoctrination of good capitalists or good leftists (or a little of both) and much more of career training than a classic liberal arts education.

And to be honest, many men may be better off in providing for their families, not with the business or engineering degree, but with a trade or skill-yet these men need a real education.

So, here is the not so modest proposal: A 2-year school for men which had a core-curriculum of theology, philosophy, history of western civ and classic literature, and a course in practical arts (cross-training the basics of the trades to follow). Majors would be in a trade: Electrician, Plumbing, Carpentry, Agriculture/animal husbandry, Engine Repair (car and small engine) etc. (any others?) These trades are somewhat recession-proof.

The campus would have student housing and a permanent chaplain and chapel. The school could have some income by selling produce/meat and services (student mechanics, electricians etc.) to the local area. A somewhat rural location with low property costs, but with some access to great population centers (apprenticeships) would be ideal.

I know this would take a bit $$$$ (maybe not the best time to start soliciting funds?), but I think this is a good idea. Does this exist (Don Bosco did this, didn't he?)

And finally, men would board at the school, but then go back to their community of origin-which I think is important. What say you all. Poke some holes, ask some questions.

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Two more items

I know I was long-winded today but....

Today is the feast of the Archangels, and our homeschool takes its patronage from St. Michael. Although this hasn't been a tradition in the past, I think it will start with today's feast: we all take the afternoon off for some family games. This morning we started by saying the Liturgy of the Hours morning prayer as a family...

And...back to the economy. Headlines report that both Obama and McCain gingerly support bailout-real leadership here! If ever there was a case of: "glad it happened now and not when I take office", this is it.

Oremus pro invicem!

In order (the weekend)

Friday evening I was reunited with some old friends on the occasion of hearing Mike Koelzer, R.Ph. speak on his decision to stop selling all contraception at his pharmacy in MI. Boy, some of his recollections of his father really hit home for me ("my father was my hero"). But even more so how God works with you and gets you ready for when the time is right (if you are open.) And didn't he (MK) say something about total trust in God-that often it comes to a point where you have no resources (be they physical or spiritual) left of your own-that you must totally put yourself in God's hands or get out of the game....

On the way home I listened to the last 1.25 hours of the debate. Sorry I missed the economy bit, but the foreign policy section had its own enlightenment:
1. John McCain attacks even when he agrees (note, both articulated the same position on Russia and Georgia, but McCain still responded with the the "Mr Obama just doesn't get it" quip.) I sort of got tired of it. And by the way, is it proper for McCain to keep calling himself a "maverick"? Shouldn't he let other people do that for him?
2. Nothing was said about immigration or exporting abortion overseas-I assume due to the lost time on the economy.
3. I didn't see a whole lot of difference between them on foreign policy. There was a lot of quibbling on details and who said or did what when, but no major differences in direction (especially as how the withdrawal from Iraq really not the issue it was a year ago.

Saturday we trimmed the goats hooves. Most were in good condition, but one goat (the first we got) were in pretty bad shape, and still are. I have to go back and do it again. I am betting its been years since they've been trimmed.

We also found several dead chickens in their house on Saturday morning-my fault. These were the young chickens we got in July. I had built them a little house for their pen, but never replaced it or expanded it as they got older. It rained all day Friday and apparently a few got crushed as they all huddled in there to get out of the rain. I just didn't keep up with it and my youngest son is their tender; in his inexperience, he didn't realize that the housing was becoming problematic. We came up with a temporary solution Saturday. Some of these of course are going to the pot soon-but we only have a dozen RI Reds for next years' egg production. I think we need to get some more soon.

We've wanted to build a new hog pen to keep the rotation on grass going. But panels have gone way up in price and the local supply has been iffy. However, we have posts and some trees to take down in the goat pen as well as a lining of pine trees on one side of the property which borders on a pine forest. I'm thinking we can cheaply put up a fencing area with the logs and the posts. I will keep you all apprised-as I'm sure you're grateful for.

Weighed (measured) "Little Big Guy" this morning: 219 pounds! Of course I wanted to slaughter him before he got this big, and our schedule is for 2-3 weeks from now. (I am hoping for a little cooler weather and a decrease in the fly population.) I am going to have to ration his feed-no more watermelons. We are just about out anyhow.

This also means that Duroc is pretty close too. He must be around 175-185. I didn't measure him this morning, he's still a bit skittish, but finally warming up.

I know I can't seem to let go of it: Every time Capitalism has a set back, the bailout moves us towards Socialism. It happened in 1929, and it's happening today. I know people think I am crazy (the move to Bethune and then the purchase of pigs sealed it for most) but it is not concealed. It's all right out there in the open.

Did I mention I took advantage of the coming rain on Friday to plant a few more rows of turnips-which are breaking ground this morning? (The other turnips are flourishing, but not much else.)

I still haven't finished preparing the fall garden, and October is upon us. Our tiller is giving us fits (first the mower, then the chainsaw, now the tiller-not to mention the tablesaw and circular saw: this is the year of the broken motor!).

I have plans to add a drain and floor to the milking shed/slaughter house. Hopefully done in the next two weeks? Oh yes, and I guess I have to get some work done also.

Sunday we spent a good part of the afternoon singing an playing. We actually have a gig coming up in December. (Don't know how this happened. The gentleman who "hired" us (no $ involved, but we may lay out a hat) must be crazier than we are.) We sure could use some Culbreath fiddles, but we'll get by if we keep practicing.

Rambling now over (buy some books - subliminal message )

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Glorious rain! Yesterday the forecast predicted 100% chance of rain. It was cloudy, cool, and windy (we don't get wind around here without precipitation, ever), but no rain. Go figure. Since the forecast was so adamant about the rain, I worked inside-til 3:00PM when I had had enough. I went out and planted a few more rows of turnips, tilled the empty large pig pen-and ran out of time.

It started raining sometime after I went to bed and has been since. Until recently I hated the rain. I couldn't think of one good thing about it. It meant I had to stay inside, but would have to mow the lawn more often. Now I welcome it and understand it so much better. Come on rain!


After reading Greencastle's post about getting free books and being a Catholic Company book reviewer, I of course jumped right on it. I ordered Mike Aquilina's Signs and Mysteries-Revealing Ancient Christian Symbols (OSV). It looks pretty good. Can't wait to get started on it.


The mail also brought in a free sample copy of Countryside & small stock journal. I'll let you know how it is.


I am going to see (and hopefully speak with) Mike Koelzer this evening at a reception being held at a friend's house in Columbia. If you read this and live in the area, email me and I can get you the details.


Here's my questions this morning (not that they ever get answered): Do we fool ourselves on the popularity or greatness of our ideas simply because we surround ourselves with those who agree with us, i.e. blogs, books, and discuss things with people who common interests, ideals, values, politics, religion, etc.?

And finally, to that commenter who left me a comment to an old post entirely in Latin, I am very rusty (notwithstanding my daily sign-off) so I will figure it out eventually and then respond if required. Thanks.

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

a few more notes

Forgot to mention we harvested our peanut crop yesterday. We did okay considering we didn't plant too much. The experiment was successful enough that I will plant a good bit next year. Right now, the peanuts are hanging in our living room, the slaughter house ...

We harvested our own hay yesterday from the abandoned part of the garden. We got the equivalent of about a bale and a half (the small square bale variety).

I wanted to work outside much of today, but I don't think the weather is going to cooperate. It is cold and windy with 100% chance of rain. Rain tomorrow too...

And from the "how did we miss this one department" (or the bait and switch) Rod Dreher reports that in the midst of the Wall Street bailout, Congress has quietly voted $25B to bailout the US auto industry. I cry to Congress: "What about a Requiem Press bailout!!!!! Hungry mouths are depending on you!" Ah, to no avail, my pleas fall on deaf ears. No congressman has RP stock...

Oremus pro invicem!

Everything around here seems to return to pigs. Here's an example: Yesterday at the dinner table Mrs. Curley (in urging me not to shave) said, "When you shave, your face looks like the back side of a pig!" She then tried to back off and explain that she didn't mean it as it sounded-but I wasn't buying any of it. (And the kids were roaring.) But just goes to show, when you have pigs around, your life changes (as you saw in yesterday's post about Mrs. Haynes.)


Yesterday I noted that during the "biggest financial crisis since X" our presidential candidates (and one VP candidate for that matter) who are all senators are absent from the Congressional debate on the $700B bailout package-demonstrating (in my opinion) no leadership. Kudos now to John McCain in belatedly recognizing this and getting back to Congress give his input, (even if I don't agree with his take on it.) Enough said.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Post number 1400

(UPDATE: Actually, I just re-checked. This is only published post 1372. There are a bunch of drafts, 28 to be exact, that never made it.)

This situation may be desperate for the lady in question, but as a keeper of hogs, I couldn't help but laugh (God have mercy on me!)

Caroline Hayes, 63, tried leave her house in Uki, New South Wales, to use the outdoor toilet, (didn't know they still existed in places-JC) but the animal bit her and shoved her back inside.

Bruce, who is the size of a Shetland pony, showed up at her home 10 days ago after his owners were unable to cope with him and let him loose in the rainforest.

Mrs Hayes began feeding the beast, but he became more aggressive, demanding more food and biting her on the leg when she tried to go to the toilet.

Local rangers tried to rescue her but could not capture the huge animal. "The rangers came out to my house with a dog cage and this pig is that big, it's like trying to put an elephant into a dog cage. They go him half-way in, and he just backed off (We know about this problem - JC) and went back to my dam, where he was having a lovely time in the water"

The case has now been handed over to the Rural Lands Protection Board (RLPB), who have promised not to put the animal down. (I'd have made him into sausage and chops in a heartbeat - JC)

Mrs Hayes told how she took pity on the beast, but it soon took over her home.

"When I found it, it had 15 ticks in its eyes which I actually took out," she said. "One of its eyes it couldn't see out of, so I put cream in it, but apparently it's actually claimed my land and claimed my place. It started getting very pushy, started pushing me around, so I started to get a bit frightened, until the stage that it started knocking on my door at 4am, actually head-butting my door.

"I wanted to go to my toilet, which is outside. I opened up the door and the pig pushed me that hard, it pushed me back into my room, where I fell over. I picked up a broom and poked him out with it - and he snapped it in half with his mouth."

Apparently (see here) the pig siege is over. They are lifting "Bruce" out and bringing him to local pig farm to be a boar. From the picture, "Bruce" is a pretty good looking boar-long and lean. An ornery pig can be tough to handle if you don't know what you're doing.


Everyone is talking about the bailout (I wrote to my senators and Rep yesterday in opposition) of Wall Street, but I also wonder about what no one else is talking about-the pumping of $30B into foreign markets yesterday and $180B last week. How, why, and where do these billions come from?

I am not sure either of "the candidates" are impressing many with there "leadership" during this "financial crisis". Both seem to be "responders" rather than leaders. (And isn't what the Senate does? Respond to bills sent up from the House or from the President?)


Today I hope to prepare the ground for some more planting and maybe work on the shop a little. It is too disorganized now to get much done.

I picked up some cedar lumber in town last week from a gentleman who had it hanging around for some years. All kinds of lumber find project homes around here.


Finally, a thought and a question. Does one have to act on every "good" idea? Maybe its a good idea for someone else to pursue-but then, if so, why didn't the someone else have the idea? Things to ponder ....

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Notes for Tuesday

Letter from our diocesan administrator (while we wait for a new bishop: Our Lady of Joyful Hope-ora pro nobis!) on voting:

"We must not be guided by the so called 'lesser ot two evils' or attempt to justify the acceptance of intrinsic evil for some greater good. We may never embrace evil. We must follow the commandment, 'thou shall not kill' and the Beatitude, 'blessed are the merciful.'"

He goes on to talk about the "affronts to basic dignity" that is abortion. This certainly disqualifies Mr. Obama, but seems to disqualify Mr. McCain too....


Reading more of Reid Buckley's family story, he talks about waiting for their Dad to come in from New York city (to their home in CT) every Friday. (He was gone all week.) It reminds me of my own childhood. Some of us used to wait by the window on cold dark winter evenings waiting for Dad to come home. Once spotted (but we had to be sure it was his car) one of us would tear down the stairs and try to get the garage door opened in time for him to pull in without stopping or pausing.


I meant to quote this from Dorothy Day last week from Catholic Worker website (hat tip to Stephen Hand):

We are convinced that the world can be saved only by a return to these ideas: voluntary poverty, manual labor, works of mercy, hospitality. They are fundamental. They are more important than getting out a paper, than lecturing, than writing books. And yet we have to do those things because we must give a reason, as St. Peter says for the faith that is in us. (And our faith must be tried as tho by fire") an old teaching.

These ideals keep coming back at me. I need to pray more...


A couple reminders... The Feast of the Our Lady of the Rosary-aka Our Lady of Victory is coming up on October 7th. A great way to explain this story to pre-readers and early readers is our book "The Story of Our Lady of Victory" by Agnes M. Penny. Read the poem and see some of the illustratons here (read other excerpts of books also at The Requiem Reader ).

Also, November will be here before you know it. We have given away a couple thousand of our "Daily Prayers for the Church Suffering-a daily committment to praying for the holy souls in purgatory." A couple years ago several of my readers here bailed the Curley family out of some dire straits by purchasing these books in bulk at a great discount-but more importantly, these kind souls provided a means for others to pray for the holy souls and relieve their suffering. Once again we'd like to encourage you to buy some of these booklets (which fit in purse or pocket) and distribute them, so many of us will pray daily for these souls. The booklet comes with a brief explanation of the practice. Read the explanation and a sample of the prayers here.

Order either book (or others) at our website: http://www.requiempress.com/ .

Shameless plug, over!


Moved our "Little Big Guy" to be with Duroc yesterday-uneventfully for a change. I think they are both glad for the company.

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, September 22, 2008


We ground up some of the sausage from the first pig Saturday night. Mrs. Curley mixed in some of the sausage mix she got at the Piggly Wiggly and we cooked up one sausage patty. It was missing something. So Mrs. Curley added some salt, sugar and some other stuff and I cooked it up. Better, but still not so good.

After Mass on Sunday morning, Mrs. Curley tried a new mix. We had it for breakfast. Okay, but tasted more like meatloaf than sausage.

So, finally I laid down the law. I said, "Sausage making is obviously a man's job." (This was to Mrs. Curley's amusement as my forays in the kitchen are usually limited to hot dogs, beans and "Dad's famous tuna fish salad".

So got Geeta Dardick's book (Home Butchering and Meat Preservation) out and followed her recipe for basic pork sausage, and voila! We had some good sausage! Now with that base recipe okay, we can start messing around. (To be honest...The only trick to this was converting a 20 lb recipe to and undetermined, but guesstimated 2.5 or so pounds of ground pork.)

Oremus pro invicem!

Okay, the foolishness that is besetting our country via the Federal Government has prompted me to almost commit to beginning my campaign for the high office in '012. If Congress passes this authorization for $700B bailout, is it because they are concerned for the country? or are they simply concerned for their (and their friends') investment portfolios?

As I mentioned last week-isn't this bailout a total violation of what a capitalist economy stands for (not that I am a capitalist)? "We want Capitalism until it hurts the rich-then let us protect the rich (from themselves) and their wealth with Socialist policies."

And just to reiterate the incredibility we should all have: This turn to Socialism, along with the erosion of our freedoms (Real ID, NAIS, etc, etc.) is happening under a Republican administration. Just proving that the general philosophy of both parties is not too different. It's all about power folks, not philosophy.

Life issues? The cynical in me believes that the Republicans give lip service to the pro-life cause (in an indefensible way-how can rape and incest be exceptions to abortion if you really believe life begins at conception?) in order to win elections that they wouldn't have a prayer to win without the social conservatives in their camp.

I saw a headline the other day called attention to the fact that although homosexual marriage is on the ballot in at least 3 states, neither Obama or McCain are talking about it. (Obama wants to avoid it so as not to lose votes from the middle-McCain wants to avoid it so as not to lose votes from the Left-which he won't get anyway.) No principles here. Doesn't McCain realize that the Ohio ballot question on homosexual marriage probably put GW over the top 4 years ago (although even GW waffled on it.) ?

So where am I on the economy? I believe in local and regional economy and commerce wherever possible, and for owner-operated businesses whenever possible. To encourage this, the tax system should favor small businesses and local and regional businesses...and the tax system should discourage conglomerates. Local and Regional industry needs less centralized regulation. The market will regulate on a local level. (At it's most basic level: If I sell rotten tomatoes or eggs or sausage on my roadside stand-people won't buy them (the latter of which is against the law unless I have inspectors prowling the property). Food poisoning at a restaurant which gets its produce and meat locally can be tracked quickly with Federal oversight.) Subsidiary!

Enough of this, I want to post about sausage and other things....

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, September 19, 2008

UPDATE: I forgot to mention Mrs. Curley's pivotal role in this operation. I stunned the pig (.22 Henry) so he would feel no pain when I stuck him. Mrs. Curley held him on his back by his front legs so I could get a good stick. Operation went very smoothly.

We put "Fred" down today and incinerated his body and then buried it. He responded while on the penicillin, but immediately ran a high fever and became lethargic again once off it. Yesterday and this morning he barely got up. So we took him out of the pen, quickly dispensed with him.

We didn't want to take any more chances with the rest of the livestock around. We nursed him for several weeks now, but he was miserable these last two days. So goes life on the farm.

Never did get to the brakes on the truck today...tomorrow.

Oremus pro invicem!

A couple post down I called our presidential candidates buffoons-perhaps they are, maybe they aren't-but either way I shouldn't have called them that. What I do know is that as the economic and world crisis deepens I fear even more the competence of either to be able to lead the country. I guess this is simply a recognition that neither share my world view.

I see from the news reports that the solution to the the economic crisis is for the government to take more and more control over private enterprises (and this under a Republican president). When it comes down to it, even capitalists don't believe in their own system.

Since I spent more time on the road this week than usual, I heard more of NPR.... You listen to their news, you would think that the Sarah Palin pick has driven women from McCain to the Obama camp. Unbelievable!

Wednesday the whole family went and picked old watermelon from our neighbor's soon to be ploughed field. Our pigs are feasting!

Today I have some mechanical work to do-a brake job on the truck and a compression test on the lawn mower. But first, off to Mass.

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Road work today, so I leave you with a few notes:

Rosary Celebration at the Our Lady of Joyful Hope Shrine in Kingstree, SC: 11:oo AM on Saturday 11 October 2008.

Reverend James L. Miara will celebrate Mass. (followed by a bring your own picnic).


Blessed Stanislaus Papczynski was unknown to me (until the Director of Our Lady of Joyful Hope Shrine directed my attention to him).

Blessed Stanislaus if the founder of the Marian Congregation, which congregation runs the Divine Mercy Shrine in Stockbridge, MA.

Blessed Stanislaus also heavily promoted praying for the Holy Souls in Purgatory-something close to my heart.

Pope Benedict XVI has called him "an apostle of intercessory prayer for the dead."

Blessed Stanislaus called this practice "the greatest charity to pray earnestly to God for the freedom of the souls remaining in purgatory".

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

You know that $85 Billion to bail out AIG was created out of thin air. (The Feds must think they are God!). No tough love here. No plan for the future. Let's just try to ease through this one and then maybe good times will return. Ha!

I guess the Feds don't think the impending demise of my little operation here is worth a bailout. No "big" people are affected.

It's funny. Sales (at Requiem Press) have been down all summer (typically slow) and haven't rebounded as expected in September. Of course as sales go down, I spend more and more time on consulting, which actually pays bills. This September is the first month in 4+ years where I wasn't sure we were going to get all the bills paid for Requiem Press (and believe me, we've had some dire times when RP was the only income). Next month is in real doubt.

And while sales are low, and more sales would keep us afloat for the time being, that's not the real problem. I have bookstores and other bulk buyers who won't pay their bills. If they all paid, I wouldn't be worried about October bills.

I don't ask for everyone to come on and buy more or donate some $$ to keep us going, because frankly, I'm not sure it will in the long-run. My experience is (granted I am no businessman) that this is an ongoing cycle. Everyone pays their bill in the end, but I have to beg them to do it. In a better economy, there are enough who do pay their bills on time to help the others float. Unfortunately my creditors won't be as forgiving as I have been.

Sorry for the rant, but the bailout of AIG just got me going this morning.

Oremus pro invicem!

On the campaign trail (and other notes)

(Note everything below is paraphrase and impressions from news reports)

In the morning :

McCain: "The fundamentals of the economy are sound."

Obama reply: "Where's this guy living? Doesn't he read the news?"

Afternoon McCain: "The fundamentals of our economy are at risk."

Next day McCain: "We need a commission to find out why the economy got to such a state!"

Obama reply: "A commission! Everyone knows the economy is in such state because of the evil Republicans. We don't need a commission, we need leadership (leadership with CHANGE I might add.)"

No! we need candidates who aren't buffoons!

Mr. Culbreath has been wondering where one draws the line on voting for the perceived lesser of two evils. I have been wondering the same thing. McCain is the worst and most dangerous Republican candidate for president I have seen since I was allowed to vote (and before.) Yet he may be the first one I have to vote for. In the past I have voted third party candidates-but it didn't matter. SC was going Republican no matter what I did. (When I lived in MA it was the opposite.) This year every state may be close.

I see this morning that the Feds have bailed out AIG. They bought Freddie and Fannie last month and put the liabilities on the taxpayers. The "smaller government" folks (i.e. the capitalists and Republicans) are the very ones which make an enormous government the only way to protect both capitalists from themselves and the mass of population from the capitalists.

Reading Reid Buckley on what he learned from his father:

"Take joy in your success, but thank God always for it as its author; take pleasure in the manner in which you contributed to your success, but remember always who was the author of that too.


Be generous always. Whatever wealth you may have earned belongs to God; your failures are owing to faults in your character .....

This reminds me of a saying of St. Josemaria Escriva from The Way (not an exact quote as I can't find my copy this morning):

Remember, your successes are God's; your failures are your own.

Brought home two piglets yesterday after slaving in the city for some hours. They are young (40 lbs); one male, one gilt.

And, something from Mark Sheaon martyrdom:

Something new entered the world with Christian martyrdom: a new sort of heroism that distinguished itself with a different kind of valor fighting a different sort of battle. The military virtues were not dispensed with because grace builds on nature. But they were transformed. Some saints, such as Joan of Arc, displayed both natural military virtue and the grace of martyrdom.

Coooooool this morning. I love it.

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Flys & Gnats

Every year (August til the cooler weather sets in) we get gnats. In a year with more rain-like this year-they can be pretty oppressive. They don't bite, but they swarm and you swallow them and they get in your eyes, and ... well just unpleasant to be outside some days.

This year flies have also descended. Now maybe it is because the pigs and chickens, but maybe it is something more....

We have two seasons of flies regardless of our pigs. In the spring when all the farmers truck in turkey litter, the flies descend. But two weeks late (especially if we put out bait and fly paper) they are gone.

Again, in the fall, we always seem to have a week or two of flies. But this year they are earlier and more numerous. It could be our pigs....

We don't watch the TV news (no reception here), but apparently there was a piece this past week on the Columbia news station about the recent fly problem at a couple house just two miles down the street from us:

Folks say the flies are the result of a nearby field, where a company called Terra Renewal Services has been using rendered chicken parts to fertilize the land. DHEC tells WIS they have a permit, but the flies shouldn't be that bad. TRS says they're in the process of spraying the field to control the fly population.

I had heard something of the dumping of rendered chicken parts up the road in the context of worries about the cleanliness of the water supply (everyone here is on either a private well or a community well.)

You can read the whole story (or watch the video) here .

Our 15 minutes of fame: flies!


September always sneaks by. Here we are 1/2 through, and I had thought I was so ahead in my fall planting, but now have slipped behind.


Feast of St. Cornelious today-patron of one of my sons. He is a very virtuous and hardworking young man. Please pray for him today-that he continues to grow in God's grace. (Thanks!)

Now to go earn some cash....Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, September 15, 2008

I am not sure I have confidence that either major presidential candidate has a clue about the economy. Obama (vaguely) says he'll change everything for the better and McCain just doesn't talk about it. John Medaille gives us some advice if an economic collapse does come:

Everyone should learn to do a few things. One, they should learn to be useful. Skills conferred by the MBA or as marketing managers may not be useful. Learn to make something that would actually be useful to your neighbors in time of need. Two, we should all learn to grow things, and grow them without chemicals and pesticides that may not be available. And never, ever, throw any garbage away: compost, compost, compost. Recycle. Reuse. Grow a garden now to learn what works were you live and what doesn't. ... If a collapse comes, you will be surprised how much it is possible to grow in a home garden, once you get rid of all that useless grass.

Don't worry about money. Worry about wealth. Wealth is things, not money. In a collapse, food that can be stored will be worth more than greenbacks. Learn to get by without money. Learn to work, learn to walk, learn to ride a bike. And (it may well be) learn to shoot. Get to know your neighbors; you may need them shortly.

I would add, if you don't know how to play an instrument or know how to sing songs with your family, start to learn now. (After all, we still need to live with joy!)

Collapses never usually take the form prophets expect, but general principles which are good for all times (good and bad) are worth living. (No debt, having a garden, knowing how to fix things, etc. are always good skills to have. )


Possible bad (life) news on the McCain-Palin ticket from Mr. Culbreath: here and here. Not too much of a surprise-politics as usual. Recall George Sr. suddenly became "pro-life" after running as "pro-choice" in the primaries when Ronald Reagan tapped him to be his running mate. I have Catholic Republican friends who are convinced that Senator Brownback's influence with McCain will result (eventually) in a McCain who is against embryonic stem-cell research. (I guess it is Catholic Republicans and baseball fans whose hope springs eternal).

And news (also from Mr. Culbreath) that Alan Keyes is a presidential contender for the American Independent Party. (Didn't he briefly try to enter the Republican primaries as a Ron Paul spoiler?). I used to be a HUGE Alan Keyes fan. There is no greater orator in America. But he has faded a bit in my estimation. (The perenial candidate-is anything really being built from his efforts?) Is this a serious campaign? Who knows about it? When is he coming to my state?


On the homefront: We brought home 3 truckloads of watermelon Saturday for the pigs (the neighbor had done his last picking and offered us the remnants). We may go back for a few more...

We should have two new pigs on the property tomorrow. And we have finally resigned ourselves to the fact that the "pregnant" goats we bought were really not pregnant-just fat. "Fred" is doing much better. Mrs. Curley is our official injection-giver; boy I'm sure glad I'm not at the end of her needle....

Sunday we went into the city after Mass to visit with some old friends and to say the family rosary-nothing like saying the rosary with a few other families...

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sorry for my unannounced absence yesterday (as if I was missed). I wasn't feeling to well early in the day and napped (quite a rare occurrence for me-but quite welcome) and later I had a project to finish, and even later a meeting to attend to. Not that I had anything particular to say....

Fred is MUCH better-mostly thanks to Mrs. Curley's efforts. For several days now she has taken the lead in taking poor old Fred's temperature and administering the shots: not single-handedly, but none-the-less, WHAT A WOMAN! (Sarah Palin has nothing on her!)

All that notwithstanding, Fred is dead meat as soon as he is fully recovered and the meds have gone from his system.


One of my favorite songs (not for singing at Mass, but in community) is Lord of All Hopefullness:

Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,
Whose trust, ever child-like, no cares could destroy,
Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,
Your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day.

Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,
Whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe,
Be there at our labours, and give us, we pray,
Your strength in our hearts, Lord, at the noon of the day.

Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,
Your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace,
Be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,
Your love in our hearts, Lord, at the eve of the day.

Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,
Whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm,
Be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,
Your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the end of the day.

First heard this on the "Faith of our Fathers" CD some years ago. This song describes how we should pray or offer the day.

While, as a family, we have sung this song in the past here and there, we always need the book; but I printed a copy of the lyrics today, and we will begin learning it by heart when we are in the car travelling.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Small Holding Report

Picked our lone cantaloupe the other day. We have it for breakfast this morning. I also picked one peanut plant this morning. Plant 1 peanut (actually 1/2) and get 2 peanuts!. Granted I picked the rattiest looking plant because I didn't know if I was picking too early or not. I will give the other plants a few more days.

Eggplants are still coming in (eggplant parm on Friday night and more for the freezer) and tomatoes are really going well now-a last burst. We have one red pepper plant which is producing...slowly. I picked one this morning.

Because of all the watermelon we are feeding the pigs, I have watermelon sprouting everywhere. In the smallest pen (vacant at the moment) the watermelon plants are a green cover on the ground. (I actually have turnips planted in there-before I knew the watermelon would overtake everything.) Of course we won't get any fruit, but it should keep the next set of piglets happy.

Speaking of pigs... "Fred" is on his last chance. He really never got better-the lameness left, but the fever recurred. Yesterday (running a 106.8 temp) we changed his medicine to penicillin. His fever was down to 103.5 this morning and he was more active and more interested in eating than we have seen him in days. If he doesn't recover fully and soon I will cut my losses. Even if he does recover, I don't think he has a strong constitution and will put him up for sausage once the meds are out of his system.

I plan to get a couple more pigs so we have something to do in the late winter.

We got our last original pig back from the butcher. When we butcher, the sausage is from the trimmings, not the main deal. However, there is a bias down here for sausage. I've talked to several men who (or whose parents) would make the whole hog sausage-only an occasional ham. So instead of several large hams and roasts, we got a few 2 pound roasts and hams and tons of sausage off this pig-the one we sent to the butcher. Lesson learned.

The sausage is great, but that's not why I am raising pigs and all that sausage can't be good for my arteries.

My fall planting (last Thursday) of turnips etc is already sprouting. More rain today. God is good!

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

I have written about Instant Postum before-but never with such sorrow....There is only one store down here that ever carried Instant Postum, and they didn't always have it. For over a year, every time we went into the Piggly Wiggly in Camden, we would look, but it's place on the shelf was empty. Now I find out why ....

First a little history: Instant Postum was the foundational product of the Post Company (you know Post Cereals). Some years ago, they were bought by Kraft. Now Kraft (or maybe just the Post division, I don't know) is (or was) being bought by another company, Ralcorp.

There are two stories to the demise of Instant Postum.

The first says that there was a cancer-causing ingredient in Instant Postum called acrylamide. Postum had a higher level of acrylamide than most any other product. Instead of reformulating, Postum was discontinued.

The second story (which does not deny the first) says that the Post people and the Kraft people never got along. In a parting shot before Kraft lost control during the buyout, Kraft discontinued Postum-the foundational product.

Whichever is correct, I will miss my Instant Postum!

Now, more than ever... Oremus pro invicem!

P.S. Send some prayers the way of the Culbreath's in CA.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A short, but long overdue ...

foray into politics. See what a "Pro-Life Party" might look like here. Excerpt:

A pro-life polity is not so much a group of programs as it is a new (and counter-cultural) was of looking at things. It allows us to work with a variety of people at different levels, and so bridge merely partisan differences in American politics. For example, we can work with Fundamentalists who may merely be anti-abortion, and with Evangelicals who are pro-family, and with Democrats who want to improve the worker's situation, and with Republicans who want to restore virtue in public life, etc. More importantly, it allows us to showcase the richness of Catholic Social Teaching, and is therefore a tool of evangelization. It allows us to display the love of Christ and say with St. Paul, “Look at these Christians, how they love one another.”

Read the whole thing-an outline of policy issues, and how the Republicans aren't even close.

And then you get Sam Brownback hoping to move the Republican Party to be the "Whole Life Party": Read all about it here .

Maybe its time for me to dust off the bumper stickers (see the upprer right sidebar) for my '012 run (See here and here and here and here for starters). (Maybe I could sell them-nothing much else is selling these days....)

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Weekend

Well, Hanna passed, and we were unscathed. We got some rain (great for my newly planted fall garden) but virtually no wind. And it looks like we will be spared Ike also. We need to pray for those folks in Louisiana. Maybe Gustave was a good trial run...

Saturday was a general clean-up day. We got a few done things done which have been nagging at us.

"Fred" is still sluggish and running a fever, but no lameness. We took him off the medicine for Sunday and he seems better this morning. I will take is temp later today. If it is still high I may start him on penicillin. We wanted to move "Little Big Guy" (Big Guy is no more-picking him up from the butcher on Friday evening-dressed weight was 230 lbs!) but I don't want to move him in with "Fred" and Duroc until we are sure "Fred" is better. Yet I really want to get the big pen tilled and planted for the nest group of pigs. ("Fred" may have been a mistake to get. I suspect he was the runt of his litter and will always be susceptible to sickness and never reach weight.)

We ordered more cow panels for the next pig pen we want to build. Hog panels have smaller openings on the bottom so piglets can't escape, but they are only 3 feet high. We like to trench our panels a foot or so into the ground, so cow panels are the way to go. (We do have one pen with hog panels which we always use for the new piglets.

Fly season is on us with wrath. I have fly bait out (in high places). No more pig slaughters till the flys go. Otherwise, we really could do "Little Big Guy" anytime now.

Back to reading about the Buckley family (even his footnotes sometimes have footnotes!) as I must return my inter-library loan Gulag without finishing it. I'm sure I can pick up a copy in paperback cheaply somewhere. I am learning some things about the South in this book I never fully realized (even though I went to school here and have lived here now for over 13 years.)

Today I am paying bills (both by writing the checks and by doing some office work.) If I finish early I have an office which is overdue for a cleaning and a shop as well.

On Sunday Father preached about 1. His obligation to preach about mortal sins ("I'm not going to Hell for anybody!"); 2. Parents' obligation to raise and correct their children,; and 3. Forgiveness-so many families broken and kept apart by long-standing feuds and squabbles. I prayed especially yesterday at Mass for families suffering from this third affliction.

Last night we watched one of my favorite comedies, "You Can't Take it With You" with Jimmy Stewart, Lionel Barrymore, and Jean Arthur (and a great supporting cast). It's another Frank Capra classic about the folly of chasing riches and really the importance of following your vocation (using your talents). Lionel Barrymore's 'grace before meals' is a simple conversation with God about the state of affairs and thanksgiving. At one point he asks a frustrated accountant and aspiring inventor if he wants to be one of God's 'lilies of the field'. Granted some of the philosophy is simplistic-but it is only movie.

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Oh, and by the way, for all you spammers out there: I don't want a replica watch, I want a real watch.

Maybe they're back .... the eggs that is. We got 7 from the Golden Buff Orpingtons yesterday, still none from the Plymouth Barred Rocks.

After reading some of the commentary about Sarah Palin's speech Wednesday night, I wish I could seen it. I would have liked to hear some of those lines I have read about, actually delivered.

I planted 15 rows of turnips, some kale, beets, radish, carrots, and collards yesterday. Still more to do, but a good start.

Getting ready for Hanna. More and more it looks like we won't get too much except rain, but if Ike continues to come our way I need to take some dead trees down before he gets here. We are battening down the hatches in any event.

First Friday today. That means Mass and breakfast with friends.

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Mrs. Curley wants to know ...

... why they put braille on the DRIVE-UP automatic teller.

A week ago Mrs. Curley came home from shopping at um, eh, Wal-mart with some astounding news. It used to be that you could simply sign your check and hand it to the cashier. The register would automatically type in the store number and the amount. Then you would get your check back and sign an electronic transfer authorization.

Now you don't even have to sign your check or give an ID. They take your blank check, run it through the machine and hand the check back to you. Mrs. Curley was perturbed. If your credit card gets stolen, essentially you are not liable for fraudulent charges. But no one is going to refill your bank account if someone steals money from it-and now Wal-mart has just made it easier-you don't even have to forge a signature-you just have to be in possession of the check.

Even though last week was the first week of the new policy, Wal-mart personnel told Mrs. Curley that already people had bought things with other people's stolen checks. Unbelievable! And what does Wal-Mart care (or the bank for that matter)? This doesn't effect them at all.

Oremus pro invicem!

More pig stories and other news

So yesterday we were going to take the last of the original three (Big Guy) to the butcher. I had revamped the cage I use to pick up weaners (and the occasional goat) to accommodate a 280 or so pound hog. And I bought some chains to hold it down on the borrowed trailer; I didn't think bungee cords would be sufficient.

Well, it took a good 2 or more hours of patient cajoling to get Big Guy into the cage. He wanted to go, but didn't have the confidence that he would fit inside. On our last try (I was giving it 10 more minutes before calling it off and doing it ourselves this weekend) we re-organized the ramp system and he marched right up.

Lesson learned-patience and listen to all suggestions.

Of course then we had to rush because our first CCD class was yesterday evening. We dropped the pig, (on the way, we noticed the cage being lifted on one side several times. I was afraid, but knew the chains were stronger than Big Guy) rushed home, showered and got to CCD just in time. Although, as a final note, I must say that it was sad to leave the slaughter of Big Guy to a stranger. It didn't seem right. Although I have great confidence in this butcher, I still had paing of guilt. If nothing else, it confirmed me in doing the rest here.


Good news with "Fred". He is moving very slowly (he could be sore from injections), but before we gave him the IM injection this morning I took his temp. It's down to 102.5 F-which is right about where it should be (really 102.3).


I plan on planting today if I can get one or two paying projects out of the way this morning. Turnips, radishes, carrots, spinach, and kale. I would really like to get the seeds in the ground today to take advantage of the rains coming this weekend from Hanna.

Latest projections have Hanna turning more and more to the North, which means landfall will be North of us (Myrtle Beach of NC outer banks?) We should therefore get residual rain, but nothing too direct or threatening. We'll still be waiting on Ike, but that is more days off and who knows where he will land.


No TV reception or cable in these parts, so I haven't watched either convention these weeks. In many senses I am glad I am not bogged down by feeling there is something I need to catch on the TV. There is so much else to do-like reading. It doesn't look like I will finish The Gulag before it is due back. I want to finish it, but reading time has been fleeting recently.

Okay, back to work. Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A couple notes

Here is what my daughters got me for my wedding anniversary (the picture-not the mug: they figured I had enough mugs already).

Gave "Fred" another injection this morning with no other incidents-whew!

I haven't had much to say (or rather time) on the political scene. While I am happier with the Palin selection for VP than some other possibilities, the more I think about it, the more I realize there are no good options. One thing is clear, the Bush administration put in place programs and policies which will facilitate the coming of an oppressive (totalitarian) regime all in the name of 9/11 and suppressing terrorism (in a few years it may be other things that "need" suppressing and all the tools will have been put in place by a "conservative" president.)

While I may be obligated to vote for McCain (a good friend and Catholic philosopher tells me so) due to the absolute disregard for human life that Obama has, I am very discouraged by the prospect of voting for someone whom I believe is very bad for this country. Neither choice seems acceptable.

Oremus pro invicem!

It was just a little task ...

that almost turned into a nightmare.

I was in the city all day yesterday working. Getting home at about 7:30 PM I changed quickly so we could inject "Fred" with an antibiotic. I had figured that his ongoing lameness is probably due to swine arthritis. So myself, the boys and Mrs. Curley went off to inject "Fred". Mrs. Curley was handling the needle and swab outside the pen, two boys and myself were inside. We would catch "Fred"; they would hold him down while I got the needle from Mrs. Curley.

Our gate has two latches: the bottom one really secures the gate, and the top one is sort of insurance-but not adequate by itself. You can't latch the bottom one from inside, so when I entered the pen, I put the top latch on only and thought nothing of it.

Now Duroc is "Fred's" pen-mate, and he is a bit skittish. He's never warmed to us. Well, as we are chasing "Fred" around, Duroc is running around the pen. He finally gets to the gate, pushes on it, and the top latch comes undone. Before Mrs. Curley can close that gate, Duroc is out and wandering on the edge of the woods.

Now this is close to sunset and Duroc (see picture) is brown-we'd never find him in the woods in the dark. I really thought he was gone.

We gathered our "team" and slowly tried to lure him back to the pen with watermelon. But he'd have nothing of it. He had found greener pastures.

Over the next hour and a half we chased him-but mostly followed him around the property. A couple times we had him cornered, but he slipped through our fingers-one time ripping a gaping hole in one of the goat fences. (Who knows what the 3 youngest were doing in the house this whole time!)

Finally, (I think he was tired) we got him cornered between a fence and the feed house. We got the cage I move pigs in and dropped it over him. It wasn't quite that simple: things were in the way-but we secured our position and then slowly moved logs and other things out of the way until the cage sat squarely on the ground around him.

Then we walked Duroc in the cage back to his pen, some pulling, some pushing. Whereupon we gave "Fred" his shot. Finally we made temporary repairs to the goat pen and called it a night (10:00 PM).

There are many side stories and details that are left out. (Including a couple pleas to St. Francis) As I was saying goodnight to Number 3 son, he commented how fun it had been. I looked at him dubiously, and he clarified: "It may not have been too fun at the time, but looking back on it, it was; and it makes a good story." I concur with that assessment. (Although I wonder how many of these animal misadventures any one family can have in a lifetime?)

Today we move the Big One (last of the original 3) to the butcher-Oh No!

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Life on This Here Small Holding

Here's the picture round-up. First up is Mrs. Curley making friends with the pigs. This is about 1 month before there first pig slaughter. Here the pigs are over 200 lbs. I believe this was the first time Mrs. Curley ventured into the pig pen. The pig on its side would be "Little One" who always used to flop over when you rubbed her belly.

Next is number 4 son and myself making housing for day-old chicks. Number 4 son is in charge of raising them and helped with the construction also. Basically it is box off the ground. The floor is tight wire netting and the roof is chicken wire which can be covered with a tarp at night or when it is raining. The box is made of reclaimed pallet wood.

Here is the one picture I will post of the first pig slaughter. Many of the other pictures didn't come out too well (lots of heads missing). You can see a bathtub and blocks of ice in the background. CT is behind the carcass. (I don't know where TS was at this time.) I am barely visible in the red.

The next two pictures are our newest pigs (shortly after we got them in July). First is Duroc. I love this guy. He is growing fast. Then we have "Little Big One" on the left (sort of aggressive and thus not long for this world) and "Fred" who still has a lameness problem. I took his temperature yesterday (106.2). Am having trouble finding a vet to consult, but will work on it some more today. Lameness seems a bit better and he is eating-but without enthusiasm.

Great picture here of Number 3 son with one of his hens. A moment after this picture was snapped, the hen looked my son in the eye and then pecked at it.

Finally, we have a shot from our last pig slaughter. Here we have just loaded the pig into the truck and CT is starting to skin as I hold the hind legs apart. Numbers 1 & 2 sons are visible in the truck.

So that's the slide show for today folks. I tilled cow manure into three garden areas yesterday-I will plant on Wednesday. I have some more sections to do, but they can wait another week.

Off to work.... Oremus pro invicem!