Friday, October 31, 2008

Had to stay home this morning for a paying conference call, so we didn't get to Mass as usual on this Friday morning. It was 34 degrees (F) here this morning, so we took the opportunity to slaughter our first goat. (This was planned a week ago, but didn't happen.)

She is old and so we plan on just grinding the meat, possibly with a little pig fat (goats are real lean like deer) and using it like ground lamb.

I just finished the evisceration and am waiting for the conference call. Then I will go back to work on the goat.

Our turnips and collards are coming in like gangbusters. I planted more of each yesterday, but have to wait for the heat of the day to water.

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

So, what do you think?

This title should be out close to the end of November. One of our tentative cover designs is shown here. As always, impressions and color suggestions welcome!


My Sarah Palin blog post title experiment didn't seem to work, yet. Stat counter reports marginally higher than average traffic, but none relates to the title of yesterday's post.

I vaguely recall reading somewhere that it was bad blogger etiquette to plant titles like I did just to boost traffic.


Had a scare this morning. We had a propane pipeline right-of-way inspector out here this morning. His map showed the pipeline going down our access road next to our pig, chicken, and goat fences-too close to the pipeline. He was getting ready to tell us we had to move all the fence lines 35 feet.

I asked him is this easement would be on our deed, and he said yes-but its not. There is also no marker for the pipeline which there should have been. I remembered a marker down the street so we went looking for it. Sure enough, the map was wrong and our property is ours.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sarah Palin

Just put that title up there because Mr. Culbreath claims titling blog posts with the GOP VP candidate's name exponentially increases hits. So this is just an experiment.

Never a dull moment around here.

Today the house filled with smoke because oldest son was tanning a pigskin by the smoking method. Smoke was so thick (using the green branches from the trees we downed on Saturday) that even though he had the fire in a pit at the edge of the property, the whole inside of the house smells like a campsite.

Then I hear the cry: Rattlesnake! Youngest daughter comes charging in saying there is a rattlesnake by the pit all coiled up! She almost stepped on it!

I gather my .22 Henry and head out. The boys are standing near the muscadine vines saying, "Hurry Dad, hurry Dad. He's going into the bushes!"

I load, take aim and fire near the head-blowing a hole clear through, and then again. This snake keeps moving, but he isn't big. Only a foot long, and I am not seeing diamonds on the back. But I take his head off with a shovel. No rattle, no diamonds. One of the boys insists still it is a baby rattlesnake, but older brother says its a hog snake. (How appropriate around here!)

I think this is the end of the story...but 30 minutes later Mrs. Curley calls from downstairs that the boys are preparing my dinner. Sure enough they have skinned and eviscerated the snake and want to fry him up. (They tell me his last meal was an earthworm. Do snakes eat worms?) My boys tell me that the Indians in Mexico believe fried rattlesnake cures diabetes. So they think a fried hog snake will too.

I love my family! (Mrs. Curley thinks we are going too country...)

Oremus pro invicem!

I was in the city yesterday trying to earn some dough. Heat finally (after 4 trips) got fixed. Can't wait to see that bill!

Cold here in the Kershaw county this morning.


I was listening to the debate the the 2nd Congressional Seat last night on my way home on the radio(not my district). The incumbent, pretty much a Bush man-but a little more conservative-is pitted against a (young) just-retired marine.

The incumbent (Joe Wilson) is not the most polished speaker, but he knows his stuff and stayed on message, and actually said some things. The challenger (_ Miller) just keeping repeating the same 3 or 4 lines as an answer to every question-yet answered not a single one. It's fine to say we need to "focus on working families in SC, families who work 5-6 days a week", but you how you're going to it, other than simply to kick Joe Wilson out. Maybe this is the local version of the "change" message.

Finally, found this picture from days of yore being used as a bookmark. Couldn't resist posting it. It's my three oldest sons about 10 years ago.

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The kids slaughtered and plucked two chickens yesterday morning before school. Then I taught Mrs. Curley how to butcher the chickens. (I am trying to make myself obsolete.) We had the chickens for dinner and they were pretty good-good flavor but a bit chewy.


As I was working at Requiem Press yesterday, I was thinking about how the urgency of getting this order out and how I had this or that book to finish editing-along with all the other (paying) work I have to do. And I started to think about all the other companies and/or apostolates who seemed overworked, and I wondered about the solution.... then I remembered the words and examples of Blessed Mother Teresa, Fr. Lee Selzer (may his soul rest in peace), and Dorothy Day: all of whom advocated prayer before works.

The older I get, the more I realize (and the more it shouts at me in the face) that prayer is the first and ongoing answer to every problem, every joy, every endeavor. St. Paul tells us to pray always, to greet each other with the Psalms-that is with prayers for each other and the Church.

Fr. Miara at the Rosary Celebration in Kingstree a few weeks ago exhorted us to say at least 15 decades of the rosary a day. I found time to add a few extra decades here and there to our family 5, but I still resist turning off the radio and turning away from my own plans (building castles in my head.)

We are so sophisticated we think we can survive without God's constant help (or at least just giving him a nod here and there.) But we must get serious. Look around! We are in times of moral crisis and desperation in our society, culture and yes even in the Church in some quarters.

It is a sorry state when our only hope in God's mercy for so many souls is that there is such a thing as invincible ignorance and that they have it. And we bear blame for the state of our culture. We must pray more for the conversion of sinners; I must pray more.

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Stories for Monday

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

Friday, October 24, 2008

Update: I just heard the interview....arghhhhh! I really take my time in talking.
Forgot to mention that my interview at the State Fair a couple weeks ago is being re-broadcast this afternoon ( at 1:34 PM) during the Radiothon to fund Catholic radio in South Carolina. If you can't get the station (1300 on the AM dial in the upstate and 810 on the AM dial if you are in the low country), you can hear it online at Mike Koezler, Pro-Life Pharmacist's interview (I believe taped a few weeks ago) will be on at 12:30/12:40 this afternoon.


I took my two younger boys to a livestock auction yesterday. I had been to a small animal auction some years ago (poultry, rabbits, and the like) but had never been to something like this.

The auction started at noon with the goats. For the most part, the goats looked pretty good. Several were sold with papers, but most not. Then came the hogs....

Most of the younger pigs (less than 100 lbs) were sold in lots ranging from 10-15 to 35 pigs. And these lots went for $17/head to $32/head. But these weren't good looking pigs for the most part. Some were obviously unhealthy, injured, and/or malnourished. And some of the larger hogs looked in pretty bad shape also. That's not to say that everything there was bad, but this was not a place I would buy a pig, either for my own consumption or my herd.

It got me to thinking: Who is buying these animals?

We didn't stay for the cattle auction.

I also learned we need to get a scale around here. A couple of weeks ago the gentlemen we bought our boar and gilts from surprised me with his weight estimate of our other pigs. Yesterday I was again surprised at the announced weights of the pigs entering the auction ring.

Well, I may be back later...I have animals to feed and Mass to attend.

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bringing Pizza home

Yesterday Mrs. Curley was shopping in Camden. Her trips to Camden invariably include stops at the thrift stores; these stops are legendary around here.

I am working and get a call from Mrs. Curley:

"You'll never guess where I am sitting."


"In a Church pew."

At first I thought she might be at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Camden-but then why would she be calling me if she was in Church? ...I suddenly got it!

"You're in a thrift store!"

So it turns out it isn't an old Church pew after all, but a booth seat from a Pizza Hut-which now graces our living room!

Young Thomas says his mouth waters every time he looks at it. (It is something like the photo-but not exactly...)

I am not sure it replaces the couch I promised Mrs. Curley, but does for now.


Can't believe I missed the Pearl of York's feast day yesterday. St. Margaret Clitherow-ora pro nobis!

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Plans and Appeal

We will be slaughtering our first goat this week (maybe I'll be writing my own book soon)-she is an old nanny we originally got to clear some land. She is probably not worth breeding and has hung around too long. She was not part of the group we purchased a little later on. She is part Boer while the rest of our goats are Pygmies. She'll be made into ground goat...

But tomorrow I will be going to Darlington Livestock Auction to see what happens at one of these. Based on the prices I've seen online at the USDA market report, I'm not sure I want to be selling (hogs) at this auction, but maybe I should be buying; but I want to check out the quality first. And I want to know who is buying at these markets.


Just did my 3rd quarter tax report for Requiem Press. It was our worst quarter ever-but we still survive (mostly because I have other income from time to time). We will push ahead. I hope to have at least one new release before the end of the year.

We recently received a request from a Chaplain for one of the prisons in Texas for a donation of Mini-Catechisms as they have a large Catholic population. We certainly would like to oblige-but in this economic climate, we can't afford to give these away and stay in business.

Some Catholic publishers have a book donation program. At present we don't. When we redo the website I hope to have this option. However, if any readers here would be interested in sponsoring some Mini-Catechisms for this prison, I will offer the 100 quantity price (50% off) no matter how many you sponsor. If interested, contact me via the email on the sidebar or on through the "Contact Us" page at our website .


Oremus pro invicem!


I didn't have anything to say this morning. (Note that the blog post time is 5:07 when I first opened this window, but I write this at 7:40. ) Then I spoke with Mrs. Curley. Apparently she has the same affliction I have-dreaming of pigs.

We were kidnapped by the KGB because we had someone's diary in our possession. We tried convince them to let us go because we had pigs to feed and a litter due at home. (Ad they didn't have any pizza!)

I really can't beat that one.

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A couple quick hits...

First up-November, the month we dedicate to praying for the holy souls in Purgatory, is almost upon us. Are you prepared? We ( Requiem Press) have a help, a prayer book with a short prayer (less than 5 minutes) for every day of the week for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. And what's more, we have deeply discounted our already discounted quantity numbers (they are priced at an additional 10% off a purchase of 50 or more; 25% off a purchase of 100 or more; 45% off a purchase of 500 or more from the regular quantity discounts.)

Not sure? See an excerpt here .

Get in the habit in November, and then pray all year round for these forgotten souls. And get some booklets for all your friends and family members. Not sure how to explain why we pray for the holy souls? The intro gives the traditional and scriptural explanation, referencing councils of the Church.


Secondly (and lastly) I know I blow hot and cold on politics. One week I am decrying every candidate and every bailout and the next week I ignore everything, and talk only on pigs. (Last night I dreamed I was back teaching at that Catholic school, but I brought my pigs to keep me company and create a conversation piece if I ran out of math material in the block scheduling.)

I love my country but see how wrong the direction is. Our choices seem worse and worse, but the way out is unclear. We are set up for a two-party system and thus forays by third parties are useless (generally). So I dream of a candidate who may not be perfect but who understands the problems and has a good sense of direction. I am unsatisfied with anything less and it deeply pains me to have to vote for anything less. But as I have read in a number of other places (wisdom is often not found here), I must force myself to remember that elections are not canonizations. We vote for a result (or sometimes against another result).

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Home butchering ... again

It rained on Friday so we postponed the pig til Saturday morning-a wise choice. A friend, Jim, came down from the upstate with two of his sons to help out. He had experience with cattle some years ago.

The weather was cooler in the morning, and the slaughter went without a hitch. My boys had built a holding pen with logs right outside the pen holding "little big guy". He went down and we decided to skin and eviscerate on site. In fact it got cooler as the morning wore on. Things went very smoothly and I was glad for the expert help.

Some improvements to the site suggested themselves as we will do the rest in the fall and winter outside. We need to build a gallows-like structure to suspend the carcass (we had only a pole in the ground with the come-along to lift the carcass.)

After slaughter we put the carcass on ice for several hours (it wasn't cool enough to leaving hanging). We ate (we had our own bacon and eggs. Unfortunately the home-cured bacon turned out to be too salty to eat. I am now told that if I blanch it for a minute or so it may recover and be edible-will try it this morning.) and then butchered in our dining room.

Chris, who has been our expert butcher wasn't available, but Jim and I did okay, only consulting the book once. The cuts weren't quite as pretty, but with a little more experience....

What an excellent day! I think the thing I most like about pigs is the Catholic conversation and friendship that always surrounds slaughter day!

Today is very busy-my state sales tax collection is due, I would like to finish planting, some orders to fill, and yesterday we remembered we have no heat! Remember we were hit by lightening this summer-the AC unit control panel was fried. We got our AC guy out here, he switched out the panel, but the heat part of the replacement panel was defective. He promised to come out again soon and bill us at that time. We had forgotten-as he apparently did also!

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Watched the debate last night. Clearly, John McCain did better here than in any of the other debates-despite the fact that his supposed strong suit of foreign policy was ignored. I was also gratified to hear abortion finally addressed. While it is clear McCain is repulsed by abortion, it also remains clear he doesn't really understand how important and destructive abortion is and has been to our culture.

The fact that homosexual marriage has been ignored is a travesty as it is also a clear threat to our culture. And it is foolish for John McCain to ignore it. Doesn't his campaign know that referendums on marriage in Ohio and few other swing states in 2004 brought out the vote and lifted (a noncommittal) Bush over the top in that election? It's really his only hope left.

Enough of politics-I have pigs to talk about.... only kidding.

I wrote a couple personal letters this morning. I have much to do to get ready for tomorrow's pig slaughter, so you all have a great day. God continues to bless us (only the Lord knows why ...) abundantly.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

a .22 or this thing?

From the reprint of the 1887 "Farm Appliances": the technique is to hit the center sharply, driving the pin into the brain to accomplish instant death.

Looks like a pretty good idea on first blush, but think about this: I can't imagine the hog holding his head still for you to hit it with this thing on. And if you miss that hog will be mad!

We have come to the point of the candidates promising practically anything and everything to anyone who could possibly vote: vote-buying at it's grossest. I teach CCD tonight, but should be able to catch most of the debate on the radio on the way home, (or we could say the rosary...)

I am sure this has appeared everywhere already, but I received it in an email from my sister-in-law last night and realized it contains honest-to-goodness simple living philosophy-which comes close to my investment profile for the last few years, and thus reproduce it here:

If you had purchased $1,000.00 of Delta Air Lines stock one year ago, you would have $49.00 left.

With Enron, you'd have had $16.50 left of the original $1,000.00.

With WorldCom, you'd have had less than $5.00 left.

But...if you had purchased $1,000.00 worth of beer one year ago, drank all the beer and then turned in the cans for the aluminum recycling REFUND, you'd have $214.00.

Based on the above, the best current investment advice is to drink heavily and recycle. It's called the 401-Keg plan.

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

To continue where I left off yesterday... I was conversing with the owner of Kewannee Farms of Dudley, GA ... of course we were talking turkey-that is, talking turkey about hogs. The conversation took some time, and of course that was followed by the conversation between Mrs. Curley and myself where we discussed converting the house-painting fund into a productive pig operation. In our wisdom, Mrs. Curley and I decided that since we really didn't have the means to get big pigs home from the Fair on Monday, we had to let this opportunity pass. As we relayed this message to Mr. Kemp, he upped the ante: "I can bring them out in my truck first thing in the morning!", and voila, just like that we are in the hog business.

So we did we get? First, a best in class March-born purebred Hampshire Boar of champion blood-lines; Secondly, a March-born, purebred, Yorkshire gilt-Grand Champion of the Fair (her mother was Grand Champion last year); and finally an April gilt, sired (AI) by the famous $21K Double Shot (see picture-of Double Shot) Boar of Indiana.

Of course delivery was in the morning, and we were short a pen (we couldn't keep the gilts and the boar together for more than a few minutes) and there was no where to put our little pigs. So needless to say, we were up early yesterday putting up a new pen. I am proud of my two oldest sons who did a great job with little supervision.

Mr. Kemp arrived at 8:00 AM and had the joy of watching us try to catch our two little pigs so we could move the boar into their pen. We put on quite a show for him.

And, oh yes. "Little Big Guy" who I measured to be about 220 lbs 10 days ago: Mr. Kemp assured me that this hog was close to 300 lbs!

While we were still working on the pen for the little pigs (we were holding them in my travel cage) some dear friends from Columbia came by for the day. The kids played, we talked, and of course we prayed the rosary together. It was a great day.

Today I go back to work, but it has been an exciting few days. Mrs. Curley and I keep looking at each other and saying, "What have we done?" The adventure continues .... (Of course, it's not cost effective to have only two sows for one boar-so you know we need a few more-but that can wait a bit.)

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Another busy, joyous, and eventful weekend ....


With the help of a few of the boys' friends we took down two trees and used them for the first was of the new holding pen outside one of the pig pens. I also tilled most of the garden-ready for planting today. (I also hurt my back trying to cut the downed tree in pieces with an axe while in competition with one of the boys wielding the chainsaw. I am not as young as I used to be-and lost both the contest and my back-although I gave a good account of myself.)

Later in the afternoon, more friends arrived for the pilgrimage on Saturday. We worked on the minivan, which has given us fits for months and 'fixed' it again.

We also took the riding mower engine apart and it doesn't look good: control rod broken and camshaft (and probably the piston) needs replacing. On the other side, the table saw motor came back to life (longtime readers may recall it wore out during our construction of the slaughterhouse this summer.)

Saturday-the pilgrimage

It's a beautiful 70 miles from here to Kingstree. The Mass was not at the shrine (which only holds a handful of people) but at the public recreation hall (decorated very appropriately-better than some churches I've seen) a mile away. Three of our boys and two friends' boys served the Mass. Before Mass we prayed the rosary.

Before Mass also, Fr. Stanley Smolenski, the shrine's director, talked for a few moments. Two main points I brought home with me: Our Lady of Joyful Hope Shrine is a diocesan shrine-unlike most others which are started and run by religious orders.

Secondly, the next direction for the shrine mission (now that it has been established and renovated) is found in the second paragraph of the prayer to our Lady of Joyful Hope: our youth to find meaning, purpose, and direction in life; help our frail elderly to know you are with them; help our sick, poor abandoned, addicted, and unborn to be rescued by your love for them, reaching out through us.

(I'll come back to this later...) Fr. James Miara celebrated Mass and gave the homily-wow! What a holy priest. (He is a young priest-ordained in 2001- and impressed the boys no end. Here's some comments from them on the way home: "He says all the silent prayers in Latin!" ). Fr. Miara urged us not only to say the rosary daily, but the complete rosary (15 decades) daily. He said he was sure most of us had the time which we currently waste while driving, walking, chit-chatting, or watching TV. He guaranteed us that we could avoid mortal sin if we said the 15 decades daily.

Fr. Miara also emphasized how our Lady draws people to Christ through the rosary-to the Eucharist. (It recalled to me that even in 3% Catholic SC, we should hold our Lady out to bring people to the Church instead of trying to hide her from the Protestants til 'later', as we often do.) To emphasize Father's remarks, see the image of Our Lady as she hold the rosary out, yet shows us Christ-child, who Himself shows us the Eucharist!)

Putting Fr. Smolenski's opening remarks together with Fr. Miara's homily, I couldn't help to think that somewhere there should be a Lady of Joyful Hope (South Carolina) Catholic Worker House, offering hope to all who come from Our Lady, to Christ who is our HOPE.


After Mass at St. Catherine's we hopped in the van and headed down to the State Fair in Columbia. Of course I wanted to spend all day watching the swine shows. But I did tear myself away to tour the dairy cow barn, a little horse showing, the poultry barn, and a great magic show by Steve Trash who performed in the midst of the crowd.

Magician Trash borrowed a dollar bill from me for a trick (he turned it into a bill with Grant on it-but wouldn't give it back to me in that state) and later came back and wanted to borrow a double sawbuck. But by that time, I was pretty tapped out and offered only a 5 dollar bill. Mrs. Curley was embarrassed as the magician made some humor at my expense. The kids went on a few rides. Our youngest coaxed Mrs. Curley onto a water ride. I think she re-lived a bit of her youth there.

But we always ended up back at the pigs. The showmanship portion (where the handler is judged) was quite interesting. There are certain rules-plus some of the pigs really can go at each other. I learned a bit about handling all day. There was a surprisingly big crowd for the pigs all day.

I spent a good deal of time speaking with Lawton Kemp of Kewanee Farms (whose pigs one several best in class awards) of GA about his pigs-purebred Hampshires and Yorkshires. I may have more news later today about that conversation, so stay tuned....

It was a grand weekend with friends, the rosary, and the State Fair. Busy yes, but I think the whole family had some good times, and more to come today. I think some more friends will be over. I'm sure there will be some singing and we will say the rosary together.

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, October 10, 2008

As mentioned earlier in the week, this blog's 4-year anniversary passed last weekend. Every year at this time I look back at some of my old posts and photos. I am amazed how small my two oldest boys were just 3 years ago compared to their size, age, and maturity today. Fathers: time flies quickly, make sure you get done what you need to with your boys.


May have some extra help here today (a few of the boys' friends will be staying over so go to the Rosary Celebration at Our Lady of South Carolina Shrine in Kingstree, SC on Saturday), so I am going to take advantage of it and get a few things built around here.

For now though, its time to feed the animals and get off to Mass.

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Interviews and pigs

It all comes back to pigs doesn't it? So yesterday I went down to the State Fair and was interviewed by Jim Corbett and Gary Towery of Mediatrix Radio at the Catholic booth in the Hampton building. It was 10 minute affair where I plugged Requiem Press and The Requiem Reader .

As I was waiting for my ride back to the car (we had special passes to get in, so we carpooled from the MacDonald's a couple miles away) I decided to find and check out the swine barn. It had only a few pigs (this was opening day), and no one was around except for the barn superintendent who had was a retired Clemson extension agent and who had run the swine barn at the State Fair for 30 years or so. This was to be his last year.

Well, we got on. We talked for close to an hour about the hog business. He told me that SC was one of the few state fairs in the Southeast to still have a swine show because most farmers who raise pigs don't own their own stock-its contract work for big companies; thus they don't show pigs.

He asked me if I want to get into breeding (which I think I do) and reviewed with me the best stock and cross breeding to do. He also told me where the best pigs would be to look at (they weren't there yet) when I come back down to the fair later in the week.

It was a great conversation-I learned a lot. This gentleman used to be hired by farmers in SC to travel to the Midwest to buy the best sows and boars for breeding.

Traffic was horrendous leaving Columbia (it reminds me how glad I am not to be living in the city any more) and I was late to CCD.

A reminder to all South Carolinians who may be reading, the Diocesan Rosary Celebration will be this Saturday at Our Lady of Joyful Hope Shrine in Kingtree, SC.


I hate to interrupt all this fun stuff with the disheartening news that our government is considering a partial nationalization of the banking system. ...

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Mistaken Identity

On September 4th, I planted lots of turnips, some radishes, and a variety of other fall crops in the new plot out front. I had really forgotten how many rows of each, other than the turnips were most numerous and they were at either end of the plot.

I have been admiring all my turnips-they are coming in very well. But I got my chart out this morning and discovered three rows of turnips were actually radishes! Big radishes, with greens to challenge those turnips. They are so red-I'll bet they're HOT!

We'll put the greens in our salad and feed some to the goats. The fruit...well what is okay to eat we will, the rest the chickens will take care of. (Is there such a thing as hot eggs?)


I watched the last half of the debate last night, which was essentially a re-run of the previous presidential debate. As John McCain was shaking slightly and visibly frustrated saying, "In time like these we need a steady hand at the tiller", I thought the steady hand would have appeared to many to be Obama and not McCain during last nights' contest.

Sorry I missed the first part, but from the reports, I think I would have been frustrated.

In the commentary afterward, Dianne Sawyer mentioned that the people in the hall were instructed to show no expression and complied perfectly. What have we come to! I'd like to see some rip-roaring honesty from the candidates and the crowd. If I ever ran....oops that's in '012.

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Our weekend

So last week someone commented on my idea of a Catholic Trade School or Technical College and mentioned the John C. Campbell Folk school in Brasstown, NC. Mrs. Curley and I visited their website and noticed they were having a Fall Festival this past weekend with over 200 craftsman vendors and 3 stages of live folk music. Brasstown is 5 hours away, and gas is expensive, but I worked the children very hard this summer, and they have been working very hard in school this year also-so on a pretty much "spur of the moment" decision, we decided to go.

The plan was to leave early Friday morning after Mass and come home Saturday evening, leaving double rations for the animals. We would camp out nearby in Murphy, NC.

We packed the car Thursday evening, but Friday morning as we were feeding the animals, we found didn't have enough chicken feed and goat feed for double rations. We couldn't go! So we unpacked the car and went off to First Friday Mass.

We regrouped and after Mass; deciding we'd try again Saturday morning. The Festival started at 10:00 AM and was over 5 hours away, so we really had to get an early start and feed the animals in the dark. This also meant finding a Catholic Church for Sunday Mass-no mean task that. (You take your spirtual life into your hands if you don't do your research when finding Mass when traveling. You can gleam a bit about a parish from -look to see if they have daily Mass, adoration, holy hours, Latin Masses, Novus Ordo or Tridentine, etc.).

So repacked the car Friday night and fed the animals at 5:00 AM. Some animals get their fill and come back when hungry again-even some pigs. But "Little Big Guy" just stood there eating and eating. I'll bet he didn't stop til the trough was empty.

Boy what a beautiful drive! We love the mountains. So much so, that every time we spend time in the mountains we talk about moving there .... but as with everything, only God satisfies. If we moved to the mountains, before too long we would long for the beach. But I digress.

We arrived at the John C. Campbell Fall Festival at around 11:30 AM. While waiting to get in, we were treated to the music of two folk different folk bands. (As a matter of fact, the folk bands and the private jam sessions of musicians were the best part of the festival.)

With over 200 craft vendors, I thought we see more variety. No doubt there was some good stuff there, but I really would have liked to see wooden boxes and furniture (none at all except one talented young man who made major pieces with halved logs.) The only woodworking apparent was turning and some carving demonstrations, but no carving vendors, and some walking and talking sticks.

The demonstrations were good. One lady was spinning wool. One man was turning a piece on a foot-powered lathe. And there were several wood carvers making figures and spoons.

The highlight for my younger ones were the pony rides. I have a daughter who absolutely loves everything horse, but had never ridden anything more alive than a merry-go-round. Well, she had her chance on Saturday and loved it. She was very timid but determined climbing aboard, but after the 2nd time around I knew horse fever had just reached a higher pitch and had not receded in the least.

We camped at Peace Valley Campground on Happy Road in Murphy, NC. We were the only tent campers, as the girl in the office told me, "At this time of year we don't see too many tents here-you know it was in the 30's last night?" (I didn't, but also didn't tell Mrs. Curley it would be in the 40's which is what the weather site told me.).

Our site was right next to a river. The two oldest boys set up the site while I tried to teach the younger ones how to skip rocks-breaking my own record with a 14 skipper! The rocks and the river were just right. (You want the water moving towards you, but gently so it is almost like a glass lake-this gives you the best bounce and movement.)

Later, my youngest son wandered a bit too far and hit a small sink hole-but number two son was there to 'rescue' him.

My sons were all upset with me for "going modern" on this camping trip. First, we went to the bath-house to do our "business", and secondly I brought the brand new Coleman Stove I won in a raffle when I was teaching at Cardinal Newman High School two years ago. For dinner we had okra (picked by my sons) and home grown pork chops.

After dinner we sang some songs around the campfire and then I told some stories-must not have been too good because there were no nightmares. (Although Mrs. Curley kept me up a bit with some questions in the middle of the night: "What was that?" periodically.)

In the morning I fired up the the stove again and cooked up some homegrown eggs and sausage. (We also had some oatmeal.)

Then we broke camp, got cleaned up and dressed for Mass. I won't name the Church we went to. It was a small parish built in the early 60's. It was obvious that there was some recent updating (for the better). The TLM is heard there regularly, but not on the weekend we were there. In fact, we had a visiting priest as the pastor was gone two weeks.

The visiting priest was 30 minutes late. As we waited, the chit-chat began to rise. But then (thankfully), the organ started, and we sang three or four songs, and then said the rosary, and then the Divine Mercy chaplet, until Father finally arrived.

At Holy Communion a kneeler was placed before the altar. Communicants could come on either side of the kneeler and receive standing, or could kneel to receive Holy Communion.

I could comment on several things during Mass, but won't because the priest was visiting and that colors some things-but I will pray for that parish this week because I think it is a divided parish. (Father asked the altar boys whether the Precious Blood was usually distributed. They answered in the affirmative. Yet at Communion time, no Eucharistic minister came forward, so Father asked the congregation. Some members indicated that the Precious Blood was not distributed, others said yes it was-by intinction. Clearly there were some undercurrents here, coming out with the pastor away.)

After Mass we were invited to free food in the parish hall. This was difficult to decline (we rarely decline free food) but it was almost 12:30, and we wanted to get home before dark, and due to several factors, we were unclear of the lay of the land. It was a blessing we didn't stay, because if we stayed to eat, we wouldn't have met Miss Mary who also didn't stay for food, but approached us in the parking lot. What a wonderful lady. She was so full of enthusiasm for our family and about life (she also kept goats way back). She promised to pray for us this whole week (We've already seen the fruits of her prayers twice.) What a wonderful lady!

The first leg home was beautiful. We drove up NC 19/74 for many miles along the river (stopping once to get our feet wet) up to Asheville, before turning South towards home.

We also stopped once for coffee and shakes for the kids (It was middle daughter's 10th birthday. We celebrated it on Monday, but acknowledged it with song and shakes during the drive home.)

We had some unexpected delays on the ride home I won't detail, finally arriving just after 7:00 PM as the sun was disappearing. The first order of business was the animals-yes, all were safe (always the fear when gone so long.) When number one son (always the prankster) called out we had two baby kids (just a few days ago I blogged about how our "pregnant goat" was just fat!) we didn't believe him. But lo and behold (the prayers from Miss Mary) "Ruth" had her kids-most likely born that day (one boy, one girl). What a homecoming!

So now you know what we did this past weekend.


For those still with me, a couple notes. Today of course is the feast of Our Lady of Victory/Our Lady of the Rosary. If you want to introduce our Lady of the Rosary to your pre-reader, or early reader RequiemPress has the book for you!

The SC State Fair starts tomorrow. We haven't gone to the State Fair in a few years. I definitely would like to see the pig showing. Looks like it may happen. I am being interviewed (I don't think it is live, I think it will be broadcast during the week) by Catholic Radio (yes SC has Catholic Radio in Greenville and Charleston-maybe the midlands soon!) at the SC Fair this week. They will be doing a series of interviews near the Catholic booth at the fair on opening day. Stop by.

Thanks for listening...Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, October 06, 2008


... Bethune Catholic's 4 year anniversary passed this weekend. 4 years is a long time in the blog world. A couple times I have thought about quitting, but just can't get myself to do it. I'll be honest-when I first started I had delusions of grandeur, but I am now quite content with my humble endeavor.

As far as continuing, I figure I will keep on (after all, I have been known to say I like reading my own blog better than reading anyone else's) at least until my readership reaches an average of 150 unique visitors a day. By my calculations (being a former math teacher) this should be reached sometime in the summer of 2015.

I have much more to say this morning-it was a very eventful and exciting weekend-but we had two baby kids (goats) this weekend and some work calls. But stay tuned-we did a little traveling and there some interesting stuff to report on.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I know I promised, but I couldn't resist this demonstration of the direction in which we are headed (from The Distributist Review):

And according to the Washington-based news site The Hill, the House will be limiting the amount of e-mails voters can send to their Congressmen. It is claimed that this will reduce strain on their computer systems, so as to avoid crashing it. Others believe this is only to limit the amount of protest e-mails Congressmen are getting over the horrendous Bailout Bill. I tend to believe the latter is the case.

And this from Catholic Exchange this morning:

One particularly cynical aspect of the bailout negotiations was the Democrats’ request for 20 percent of any profits that the Treasury might make on the eventual sale of assets that they would purchase under the plan; those profits would go to groups that serve as slush funds and lobbyists for Democratic special interests. The profits would go there instead of back to the Treasury. Republicans naturally balked at agreeing to fund the Democratic political machine as a condition of trying to rescue the country.

Things are getting murkier.....

Yesterday, as I was on the road working, I stopped in at the local Catholic Church around noon time to make a visit. The church was empty, but as I knelt in front of our Lord in the tabernacle, I heard someone come in the church. When I finished my visit and turned I saw my best friend kneeling in a pew, and it occurred to me how blessed I was to have a best friend who makes visits to the Blessed Sacrament on his lunch hour.


In the comments below about the idea of a Catholic trade school/tech college a mention is made of John C. Campbell Folk School. For the most part, these aren't the trades I had in mind, but wow! how I love to take some of their courses. Even more, I'd like to be able to teach some of them, but alas I am jack of some trades and master of fewer.


I think I have spent enough time and energy on billion dollar bailouts, so don't expect to hear too much more from me on it. I know, promises, promises.


For years every time I saw my father-in-law I asked about the dowry I never received. One year while visiting he left a chainsaw and garden tiller here for me with the admonishment that he didn't want to hear anything more about a dowry! Fair enough. Both have seen some good use here, but each has been more and more iffy, if depending on them.

I have borrowed an old (real old) rear tine 17 HP Craftsman (Briggs & Stratton) tiller. I had borrowed it the first year here in Bethune and loved it so much that I almost tilled our entire property. Well, I have it again for a week. Watch out ground!

Oremus pro invicem!