Wednesday, November 26, 2008


is what I paid for gas yesterday down the street. Don't know how long this will last; I almost wish I had someplace to go.

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I alluded to the fact we bought some calves last week. They are Jersey bull calves, about a week old from a dairy farm. When we brought them home it appeared one was not well and the other fine. Then it reversed itself. The sick one seems well, frolicking and eating well. The other got steadily worse over the weekend.

The hope was that we could raise these as steers for 6 months or so, slaughter one for ourselves and sell the other to help pay the feed bill (even with these being Jersey's, not known for beef).

Mrs. Curley and the two older boys had been working quite a bit with the sick calf (We had given electolytes, anti-biotic etc but by Sunday he wasn't taking much even when they tried to pour it down his throat. We didn't have a drenching kit and the feed store was closed), but hope was waning yesterday as I went to work in the city. On the weekend we just couldn't get what we needed. I planned on bringing home a drench kit from the city to see if we could snatch life from death. But it was too late. He died yesterday afternoon.

I really felt I should have been there, but I had to work. I am proud of the boys for taking care of everything for me.

I don't know if the remaining calf will be happy by itself, they are herding creatures. Yesterday was a sad day.


Last night I came home very late from the city and caught 1030 AM from Boston on the radio for a couple minutes. It was strange to hear Boston talk radio with personalities I remember on the back roads of South Carolina. Last week coming home late, I listened a station in Ohio. But as I write this now, I realize I probably should have been saying the rosary instead of channel surfing in the car.


I think by now others have said it, but it occurred to me the other day that the 'change' Obama promised is turning into a Clinton Administration re-run; at least that's how the posts are being filled.

And another thing, how long are people and other countries (read: China) going to buy up Treasury notes so we can prop up the financial system and have a stimulus package. I am not sure I like where this is going either way. (By the way, the Distributist Review Blog had at least two posts this past week suggesting how to bailout Detroit properly. Someone should send these to our President-elect and to every member of Congress.)


Busy next couple days with cleaning and minor home improvement projects as we get ready for Thanksgiving. In your spare time though, check out Anthony Esolen's latest at Inside Catholic. Here's the opening salvo:

We Catholics are commonly urged to "engage the culture"; not to flee for monasteries of our own making, but to work within the institutions of mass media, mass education, mass marketing, and mass entertainment to advance the banners of Christ, our King.

I do not wish to criticize those who toil at that thankless task. Nor will I suggest that their work will be futile; no true service of the Lord can be without fruit. But I do believe we have mistaken the signs of the times. We seek to engage a culture, when there is no culture to engage. Our task is rather to revive the memory of what a culture is.

If that declaration seems provocative, I ask you to consider that word "culture," and to cease using it to denote the habits and fads of the masses. For the "masses" do not produce culture. The people do, when they cherish and preserve and pass along to their descendants what is most dear to them: their memorials and feasts, their music and dances and rites of passage and of courtship; their know-how, their moral laws; most important, their worship.

Great stuff...Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Now that's cooking!

Check out the stuffed pork loin on Jim Dorchak's new blog . That's good looking pork (if I do say so myself!)

Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Inspired by the story posted below, here is the new ditty being bandied about around here (to the tune of the WWI classic "Oh How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning"):

Oh how I hate catch pigs in the morning.
Oh how I hate to chase them from bed.
But the hardest part of all
Is to hear the swine herd call,
A pig has escaped,
A pig has escaped,
A pig has escaped in the morning!

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Pig stories

So I picked up some more pigs yesterday from an old-time farmer in Lugoff. Most of his sows and the boar are in a largish pen made of pallets, wire, old lumber, and anything else he could get his hands on. The younger pigs can come and go as they please from the pen. They just hangout on the property, apparently knowing that if they want their regular food they better hang around.

However, he lets a sow out of the pen just before farrowing so she can make her own nest in the woods. We saw one with week-old piglets following her around.

Maybe this is the way it should be.

I picked up 3 gilts (they are each Chester White/Yorkshire crosses-except one which has a spot somewhere in the pedigree), hoping one will show good growth and temperament to be a sow for me one day.

These gilts are pretty little, ranging from 30-45 lbs. We put them in an empty pen formed of cow panels. It was pretty apparent that at least the littlest one could squeeze through the hole, so the boys strung some chicken wire around the pen to dissuade escapees. Alas, it was not enough. 15 minutes later as we all about to go in, we heard the cry from Number 2 daughter, "A pig is out!"

Mrs. Curley and girls hung back to secure the area while the boys took after the smallest pig who hightailed it into the woods.

We (myself and Numbers 1, 2, 3, & 4 sons) surrounded her once early on, but she escaped before we could get a plan in action. Number one son handed me a net on a pole, which I caught on numerous vines and branches as we followed through the forest.

We followed as closely as we could, trying to keep her generally surrounded. Finally she came out into the neighbors yard and then through it into his soy bean field beyond. Here we surrounded her and started to close in. I made a swoop with the net, but she was too quick and we were on the run again. Back over the creek, into the woods heading for home. (My neighbor tried to help by shouting we should direct her to his fenced area-but little pig must have heard, she quickly turned back towards the woods. We must have been a sight!)

Near our property, she suddenly turned West, and we continued to follow (leaving a worn out Number 4 son at home). After a bit I decided to turn back and get the truck.

I caught up with pig and the boys at Ford's pond. Pig was in the (dirt) road. I told number 2 and 3 son to circle around behind her. Number 1 son would cut off Ford's pond and when in position we would close. But pig wanted none of it. She took off down the road before Number 2 & 3 were in position. I followed in the truck. Suddenly she stopped and turned around. She slowly approached, then disappeared. As I strained from side to side to catch a view of her, I happened to look in the rear view mirror---there she went, right under the truck and back towards home. I turned the truck around (15 point turn it took, practically) and caught up with her again at Ford's Pond.

Number 1 son took up the chase through the woods.

Number 2 & 3 had no idea where we were at this point. I circled around with the truck trying to find Number 1, with no luck. I finally drove back and found Number 2 & 3 and returned to the homestead; we, having no idea where Number 1 son and pig was now.

At this point we all thought she was gone for good.

But, soon, as we discussed the situation with Mrs. Curley, we heard Number 1 son shouting out, "She right in front of me, heading your way."

We (myself and 1, 2, & 3) gathered our forces again and surrounded her. She got out of the circle, but we quickly contained her again. This time Number 4 son and Mrs. Curley came to reinforce our effort.

We closed in slowly and then Number 2 son dove and made a grab-YES! he got the hind leg.

Boy oh boy! Almost 2 hours and almost 3 miles of ground covered through forest, and she was returned to the pen.

Much perseverance in this effort. Without Number 1's tenacity (he said he lost her once for a minute, but heard her and picked up the trail again) and Number 2's quickness we would have lost her.

Number 1 son said he was going to give up but overheard me mutter, "I really wanted that pig.", so he kept on.

I am proud of each and every one.

We recounted the whole tale with some exaggeration (Number 2 son claims he never saw me run so fast) over dinner (after securing the pen of course.)

I am sure we will regale ourselves with another telling again soon.

St. Anthony the Great must be looking over us. I think when I write my book on raising pigs, or the small homestead or whatever it is, I will include a chapter on the proper technique to catch escaped swine if one is so unfortunate to lose one. We got it right in the last effort, but blew our chances at least twice in the process due to bad technique and inadequate force.

Oremus pro invicem!


This morning when I did my periodic check of Stoney Creek Digest, it occurred to me that interested parties should start a pool to guess when the blogfast will end. Winner has to be the closest without going over. I would guess December 28th except I think something will happen in the news (especially in CA) which will prompt a brief break in the fast before then. Therefore, I will place the date at December 9th (2008).

Stay tuned. If I get my work done early enough today I have another installment of "The Pig-Chasers" to relate.

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I was asked the other day how much time I spend each working on the homestead itself. I gave an answer, but I can't really say how true the answer was.

A typical day sees me spend an hour in the morning working with the pigs (feeding/cleaning) and overseeing the other early morning chores with the kids. Then I will about spend 30 minutes for the afternoon feeding. Yet I am not sure how many days are actually typical-except maybe Sundays.

One day a week a work in the city and all the homestead work is done by the kids that day.

Maybe yesterday was a typical day. I woke and prayed at 4:30 AM. By 5:00 I was working on Requiem Press stuff. From 7:00 to 8:00, I spent my typical hour in the morning feeding, mucking etc. We ate breakfast. Then I worked on filling orders for a few hours. From 11:00 AM to 1:30 PM or so I took meat off chickens the kids had slaughtered and plucked. After lunch I may some business calls, checked email, did a post office run, and spent 30 minutes with the gentleman who runs the feed store talking about calves. Then I drove to Cassatt and looked at a couple calves (we brought them home-another developing story.) Being CCD night, we ate dinner early and took off for CCD.

Yesterday wasn't really a typical day, but it happens often enough. One Friday morning last month I began slaughtering and skinning a goat at 8:00 AM, was on a conference call for paying job at 10:00 AM. Was butchering at 11:00 AM and was back to computer after lunch by 12:30 for the rest of the day.

So how much time? Who knows. But I do know you have to be flexible and ready for anything around here!

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Time to weigh in ....

... on the controversy presently raging in my diocese centered in Greenville, SC? I think not.

I believe that enough has been said and written by people who know more about the situation than I do. (It is not that I don't have an opinion, it's just that I don't see a purpose in expounding and covering all the bases at this point.)

Although this diocese is small (as in a small town where access is great and many people know each other) I have no personal knowledge of the key players-but certainly friends of mine do.

Our family has been dedicating our Angelus everyday, followed by the Memorare and invocation of Our Lady of Joyful Hope, for a good and holy bishop for the Charleston Diocese. May God answer that prayer very soon.


When I read the latest issue of CMQ a few weeks ago there was an article on the The Walsingham Project, part of which is a prayer crusade for the conversion of England.

In 1904, Dom Bede Camm OSB was preaching sermons in England on the English Martyrs under Henry VIII and Elizabeth I to inspire greater fervor for this same purpose. (Of course these sermons are collected in Requiem Press' first release Witnesses to the Holy Mass; you can read an excerpt here)

Getting back to the Walsingham Project, it has two dimensions: spiritual (the prayer crusade for the conversion of England) and intellectual. The intellectual dimension involves promoting the book by none other than Henry VIII: Defence of the Seven Sacraments. From their website:

Most Christians identify King Henry VIII as a co-founder of the Protestant Reformation, along with Martin Luther. However, prior to his severing ties with Rome, Henry was an accomplished theologian and staunch defender of the Catholic Faith.

He was even granted the title 'Defender of the Faith' by Pope Leo X.

In Defence of the Seven Sacraments, King Henry launches a scathing rebuke of Martin Luther’s rejection of the Church’s 1,500-year sacramental heritage. In a no-holds-barred approach, Henry refutes Luther’s novel interpretation of the ordinary means of grace given to the Church by Jesus Christ.


Am going to look at some pigs this week as well as a couple bull calves (a few days old). Feed prices are coming down, and the kids really would like to be call "cowboys" as opposed to "shepherds" or "swine herders" (although I don't mind the last and I have never heard anyone call them them for former.) Not that the latter is really a consideration. Goat is very lean, Pork is not so lean, and beef is in the middle. Wouldn't mind a little beef now and then. We've been pretty much pork, chicken and a little goat. (By the way, we had delicious ham this past week that lasted 4 meals-which is saying a lot for our carnivorous crew here.)

Of course there is plenty of chicken too. Speaking of which, I found this picture I forgot to post earlier in the week, but which is too good to miss.

Oremus pro invicem!


I finished Better Off-Flipping the Switch on Technology by Eric Brende over the weekend. He makes a good case for minimizing technology. Here it is-an interpretation based on my example, not his.

Let us consider the Automatic Dishwasher as our objective study of a labor-saving and time-saving piece of technology. Is it really all it claims?

First, by having the dishwasher wash the dishes, you are depriving your body (mostly your forearms) of exercise. Secondly, washing dishes by hand is truly a two-person job: one to wash, one to dry and put up. By the time one person can rinse, load and unload and put up a load of dishes, most two people can have done the same dishes by hand. But you say-ah ha!!! TWO PEOPLE! Oh yes, the two people will talk and discuss and build their relationship or solve a problem, and the time will pass without them even realizing how much "work" they've done.

Finally, the dishwasher costs money to run, has an initial cost, and replacement parts are expensive: all this goes into each load of dishes.

This is not to say we are tossing our dishwasher. We have gone without before-but unfortunately we didn't take advantage of the opportunity it provided in sharing the work.

But this is the basic case Mr. Brende makes; that a lot (especially more advanced) of technology has a large initial cost, a maintenance cost, an operating cost, doesn't save as much time as you think, detracts from physical well-being (i.e. exercise) and detracts from social interaction.

I have made my livlihood via technology: in industry as a patent agent and more recently as a book publisher. There is no way I could do what I do at Requiem Press without advanced techonology...and yet this computer takes more of my time each day than it needs to-and it is solitary work. Technology can be a seductive mistress.

Mr. Brende makes mention of a tribe in Africa whose members work only 2-3 hours per week to live (gathering nuts and berries). The rest is leisure time. The trend is there: the more (and more advanced) technology that a society has, the more the members have to work to maintain it. There is a balance between being enslaved by our desire for comfort provided by technology and the nut and berry gatherers mentioned hereinbefore. Each of us must decide that balance for ourselves ...

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, November 17, 2008

More pictorial homestead update

A couple days ago, I posted pictures of our living things: garden and animals. Now it is time to post pictures on 'dead' things. First up are a couple pictures from our last pig slaughter. I only put the first up because it shows my best side. I can't recall why I was climbing the pole, but probably to hook up the come-along. The second of course is self-explanatory.

Next we have a pig skin being smoked. I commented on seeing the picture that it looked like the skin was on fire. My daughter assured me that it was at that moment.... Tanning hides has been a project for number one son. He has done some pig hides and is currently working on a goat skin.

Then we have a few pictures of the kids working on the chickens. We did four that day and 6 more yesterday. We have more to do, but the rain is holding us off. (Actually it rained a bit yesterday too, and the kids rigged a tarp over the plucking area.)

The feathers go into the feed bags and then to our compost pile (good source of nitrogen). I do believe the next batch of feathers we are going to save for a pillow.

Once plucked, Mrs. Curley and I take the meat. Sometimes I eviscerate and freeze the whole chicken. Sometimes I skin it and cut the quarters off, depending.

Finally we have a peaceful picutre around the campfire on our trip to NC early last month.

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, November 14, 2008

A few matters of business (and pleasure)...

One of our favorite poems from a Breath of Home graces our pages at The Requiem Reader . It is quite appropriate for this time of year. Go check it out.

A week or so ago I posted a prospective cover (here) to our next release which will be out in time for Christmas (hint), in fact I am doing some final work on it today and next week. We have taken suggestions and worked a bit on it. I present it below. I am still concerned about the white print over portions of the painting, but feel overall this is a great improvement. More suggestions highly welcome.

I will be posting more about the book's contents and an excerpt over at the other site in a week or so. Get ready!

Finally, I mentioned in my last post getting abook via inter-library loan. There is another book I really crave, but am told books less than 2 years old can't be gotten via inter-library loan. I wanted to see if it was worth the $$ before purchasing as a reference book. It is Dirt Hog-A Hands On Guide to Raising Pigs Outdoors by Kelley Klober. I have his "Storey's Guide to Raising Pigs", which is the best I have on the subject. I think this new book-while I am sure contains much of the same information- is geared specifically towards the kind of pig raising we are engaged in. So I am just going to have to buy it myself. (I never knew about the "2-year" rule.)

As the rain pours down today, I am reminded how it wasn't just the pig manure that made our fall crop so good this year-it was God's rain more than anything.

Oremus pro invicem!

Better Off

Several weeks ago-I am not sure where (it could have been here) saw an article about Eric Brende. I had forgotten but a couple years ago when I was commuting everyday from Bethune to Columbia, I heard an interview with Eric Brende on NPR.

After a few touches like this, I decided to get his book Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology via inter-library loan. Eric Brende and his new wife (of 3 weeks) decide to spend 18 months in an Amish community (but more primitive than the Lancaster County Amish). No electricity or motors allowed.

I have a feeling I will be lifting a few paragraphs from this book as I get into it. From page 31 as he observes some neighbors crouching over a row of beans:

From a distance the casual onlooker mush have wondered how anyone could accept such a lot, apparently, up to the neck in sheer subsistence activities, uncomplaining, even contented, as if it were nothing. While the whole nation around them was going to incredible extremes to avoid such work, they had gone to conscious lengths to preserve it.

Why? There was this phrase they kept repeating: "Many hands make work light." The statement was true, though hard to explain. Gradually, as you applied yourself to your task, the threads of friendship and conversation would grow and connect you to laborers around you. Then everything suddenly became inverted. You'd forget you were working and get caught up in the camaraderie, the sense of lightened effort. This surely must rank among the greatest of labor-saving secrets.

...Physical work, then, served more than one function. Besides putting bread on the table and vigor into the physique, it also provided a special social elixir.

What really struck me about this was the 'new' meaning to saying "Many hands make work light"-that this isn't just an economy of scale if you will, but deeper. And I think back to a few weeks ago when we were taking trees down as a family-it took all day, but seem to fly by. Of course, there is the line I didn't quote from Mr. Brende early on in the book:

...I began to notice anomalies int he mechanical utopia of our modernized household. After we got an automatic dishwasher, the size of the pile of dirty plates on the counter didn't decrease at all. If anything it increased. My dad bought one of the first word processors ever made in hopes of easing the time and effort of writing. He spent so much time with that machine, I almost never saw him again.

I think I understand Mr. Culbreath's periodic blogfasts a bit better now-and maybe see that one may be due for me....

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Homestead Pictorial Update

Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes! Got film developed this week. First up is plant life, with some of the radish crop displayed. I don't know if my decapitation in the picture is on purpose or by mistake.

The next two pictures are of the turnip gardens. The radishes came from the first, but already picked by this time, likewise the beets. Collards and most of the turnips are still there at the time of the picture. This was the very planting for this first garden. We spread hog manure on this section of grass mid-summer. Then tilled in old cow manure right before planting. Our most successfull section ever! The second garden is all turnips. You can see the long unplanted section behind it. It is now planted and I noted this morning that things (turnips and collards mostly) have broken the surface.

Now onto animal life..... First up is number two son with one of the kids we had last month. Next up are some pig pals-the brown one is Duroc who is due to meet his Maker in a week. Finally, we have a shot of our Hampshire Boar, Tarzan and the two prize gilts.

I have more photos to share, but will wait for the morrow.

Oremus pro invicem!

Traditional Feast of St. Stanislaus Kostka

and the anniversary of Stanley R Curley's (my Dad) burial. This is an expected post for long-time readers-usually I comment on the mystery of having an Irish father named after a Polish saint. But I won't mention it this year.

I remember distinctly the final hymn at Dad's funeral: Holy God we Praise Thy Name-Te Deum in thanksgiving for a life well-lived and thanksgiving for a father who truly reflected God's fatherhood in our lives. My tears that day were the realization of how much I have been given yet how much is still wanting in what I give.

So today, I say: "Thanks God for a wonderful father" and "Thanks Dad for being faithful to God's will!"

May his soul rest in peace.
Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Some excerpts

In the comment boxes below TS writes:

The problem with my view of capitalism, which must be in error if in conflict with church teaching, is that I see the good of the owner and the worker as typically mutually enriching.

And I don't think that view or its reality is in conflict with Church teaching. However, I don't think this situation is the norm-at least in businesses owned by investors (as opposed to privately owned or family-owned businesses). Today it is common for companies to lay workers off, not as a last resort to stay in business, but for all sorts of reasons-including to increase profit (note, I didn't say to make a profit, but to increase...) The workers employed are asked to do double the work with no extra compensation.

The dollar is almighty and the workers are tools to make it. And slavery, it is. The whole economy is set up to encourage consumerism, debt and thus bondage to the economy as it exists.

A household living wage may exist for professionals who shun the latest fads, but doesn't exist for the blue collar worker. Finally, the economy as presently encountered in this country is not set up in service of the worker or the common good, but in the service of investors.

While I recommend most highly Pope Leo XIII's Rerum noverum, I will quote below from more contemporary pontiffs.

From Paul VI's Populorum Progressio:

26. But it is unfortunate that on these new conditions of society a system has been constructed which considers profit as the key motive for economic progress, competition as the supreme law of economics, and private ownership of the means of production as an absolute right that has no limits and carries no corresponding social obligation. This unchecked liberalism leads to dictatorship rightly denounced by Pius XI as producing "the international imperialism of money". One cannot condemn such abuses too strongly by solemnly recalling once again that the economy is at the service of man. But if it is true that a type of capitalism has been the source of excessive suffering, injustices and fratricidal conflicts whose effects still persist, it would also be wrong to attribute to industrialization itself evils that belong to the woeful system which accompanied it. On the contrary one must recognize in all justice the irreplaceable contribution made by the organization of labor and of industry to what development has accomplished. (emphasis added by me.)

And from John Paul II's Centisimus Annus:

In other cases the land is still the central element in the economic process, but those who cultivate it are excluded from ownership and are reduced to a state of quasi-servitude. In these cases, it is still possible today, as in the days of Rerum novarum, to speak of inhuman exploitation. In spite of the great changes which have taken place in the more advanced societies, the human inadequacies of capitalism and the resulting domination of things over people are far from disappearing. In fact, for the poor, to the lack of material goods has been added a lack of knowledge and training which prevents them from escaping their state of humiliating subjection.

And ....

The Church acknowledges the legitimate role of profit as an indication that a business is functioning well. When a firm makes a profit, this means that productive factors have been properly employed and corresponding human needs have been duly satisfied. But profitability is not the only indicator of a firm's condition. It is possible for the financial accounts to be in order, and yet for the people — who make up the firm's most valuable asset — to be humiliated and their dignity offended. Besides being morally inadmissible, this will eventually have negative repercussions on the firm's economic efficiency. In fact, the purpose of a business firm is not simply to make a profit, but is to be found in its very existence as a community of persons who in various ways are endeavouring to satisfy their basic needs, and who form a particular group at the service of the whole of society. Profit is a regulator of the life of a business, but it is not the only one; other human and moral factors must also be considered which, in the long term, are at least equally important for the life of a business. (emphasis added by me)

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

USS Intrepid

It's Veteran's Day and the President is speaking at the re- dedication of the USS Intrepid, formerly an aircraft carrier-now being dedicated as a museum (story here) I have a connection to this ship.

My Dad worked for many years as a scientist (radar expert) as a civilian for the Department of the Navy. He travelled a bit during my childhood. I recall one time his returning from a trip with an officers cap (with scrambled eggs and everything) from the USS Intrepid. I don't know why he was flown out to the ship (it was not at dock) but I recall his homecoming very clearly and his account of one plane missing the hook on a landing attempt. This must have been in the 70's sometime.

I still have the cap, although it a little worse for wear and doesn't fit me anymore.

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Well that sausage was good Saturday morning. I don't think we have to experiment on sausage mixes anymore. Legg's Old Plantation #10 is it!

Sunday afternoon I ground up some goat meat and put a little pork fat in it to hold it together. We had goat burgers (chevon burgers?) Sunday night for dinner. They were pretty good. A bit dry like lamb burgers. Next time I may put a little more pork fat in them. (I estimate I put about 5% in this time.)

We never did get to woodworking on Saturday. We cleaned the house early and then met up with Mrs. Curley at a friend's house after their sewing weekend. Mrs. Curley also went kayaking with her friend. I wish she had a blog to relate her experiences on the Catawba River! They had fun...

For your reading enjoyment, there is an article by Dorothy Day up today over at The Distributist Review.

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, November 07, 2008

The week in review

The week began of course with the election. What I will remember most this years edition is the gushing....that is ABC network reporters and analysts gushing when the election was called. There was no hiding it from their faces and speech. (We watched ABC because it was the only network we could get a semblance of reception of out here.)

The week ended with a new blogfast from Mr. Culbreath. In between was a lot of work (which is a good thing.)

My consulting work kept me busy this week and I found out a trip to Quebec and New Jersey may be upcoming in the next few months. (I have never been North of the border before-do I need a passport now? I will have to find out what are the sights to see. My oldest son already told me there is a Church in Quebec with a memorial to St. Isaac Jogues.)

Been also working hard filling a few orders for RequiemPress ; it's doing a bit better after a weak 3rd quarter.

Received the latest issue of CMQ. Some great articles: on why the Church has 'Social Teaching' and where to find it; and a heroic if tragic account of the siege of Famagusta in 1570/71.

Then we had first Friday Mass and breakfast, followed by Mrs. Curley and the girls leaving us menfolk to go on a mother-daughter sewing weekend.

This evening I ground some pork and made some sausage (not my own mix-but EVERYONE around here swears by Legg's Old Plantation Sausage Mix-so I got some. We will try a bit for breakfast.) The boys and I spent a couple hours this afternoon singing and playing folk songs and then ate our fish and beans while watching Hopalong Cassidy in "Leather Burners". (Robert Mitchum had a bit role as did George Reeves, the first Superman.)

Tomorrow the boys and I are going to do some woodworking (although I think my eldest son is going to finish tanning a couple hides.) So a pretty eventful week.

One note on the election: while I am not pleased with the result, I was expecting it. I am also not one to spend my time worrying about the consequences of such election. Sure there is work to be done, so let's get at it (personal holiness is the real work.)

Finally, Sunday is the 9th anniversary of my father's death. I usually don't post on Sunday's and probably won't this Sunday either. But as I offer prayers for the eternal rest of my Dad, I will do so also for the departed loved ones of all my faithful (and fleeting) readers.

Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Requiescant in pace. Amen. — Eternal rest grant to them O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Update on the radio stuff below: From the comment box, those radio times are CST to an hour later here on the East Coast. And yes, it is my brother-in-law!

From Archbishop Chaput at WYD in Australia via CWR

At different points in my life as a priest and bishop, I thought that I'd heard every possible excuse Christians have for not bringing their faith into the public square and not sharing it enthusiastically with others. But over the years, I've learned that human creativity, when it comes to making up alibis, is endless.

I thought this ties in with many of my "inspirations" of the past year (from Catholic Worker house, to runs for the legislature, to Catholic trade school-you name it.)

Speaking of the latter, there is a good site for a Catholic Trade School in Bethune. There is a motel closed 20 years ago (who knows how much work it needs). It has a bit of land and within walking distance there is a closed garage with 3 bays, which I am sure can be obtained. I am also sure some land for agriculture could be found fairly cheaply in the area.

Alternatively, I think the closed motel would be a good starting location for a fledgling monastery. Anyone know some monks looking for a place?


My youngest sister, Agnes Penny (author of RequiemPress book The Story of Our Lady of Victory) now has a monthly radio show on radiomaria, every First Friday at 6:30 PM.

Her husband has a weekly show Our Quest for Truth - Live on the same station on Tuesdays at 6:30 PM (He is a high school Theology Teacher).

And unbeknowst to me until today when I was viewing the schedule, I think I have another brother-in-law broadcasting a show weekly on the same station. Unless I am mistaken, Andrew Cole of Fatherhood Speaks - Live (2:30 PM on Tuesdays) is another sister's husband. I'll have check these out. You can too-if you don't live in the broadcast area, you can listen to the programs online.

Since this is "media day" here, I would be remiss to mention the latest issue of CMQ which arrived in my box this week. I have something to quote, but it can wait til tomorrow.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


We can pray in thanksgiving this morning that Proposition 8 in California passed (I believe a similar prop in Arizona also passed) despite CA going for Obama in a big way. The news wasn't so good for pro-life causes-as most ballot initiatives aimed at curbing abortion failed.

Two articles at Inside Catholic helped me form (or really confirm) my final judgment going into this election and going ahead in the future (although I might add that I haven't voted for a major party candidate in the the November presidential election in many years).

The first article is by Steve Skojec. Here are some key passages:

We've heard a lot of talk this election cycle (and the one before it... and the one before that...) about stopping a great evil by voting for a lesser one. And yet, the only certain outcome of constantly choosing the lesser of two evils is the perpetuation of evil. As for mitigating the damage, when you're headed straight for a concrete wall, whether you're going 90 miles an hour or 100 is about as immaterial as you're going to be once you get there.

...There are some who argue that a vote for Baldwin -- or Bob Barr, or Alan Keyes, or Ralph Nader -- is a vote for Obama. The logic escapes me. The only vote for Obama is a vote for Obama. If you want to point fingers, point them at the tens of millions of people who are voting for him. A vote for Baldwin, on the other hand, is just that -- a vote for Chuck Baldwin.

....After months of angst, my decision to vote third party was simple, regardless of Baldwin's prospects for victory. Simply put: When you vote for a candidate, you're telling the other parties that you will support candidates similar to that one. The political field is a lot like the market: If enough people buy a thing, you'll start to see a lot more of it. Every vote for McCain is another reason for the GOP to run another candidate just like him. Every registered Republican who votes third party sends the message that the candidate we've been given is not up to snuff.

And then there is this gem by Fr. Robert Johansen. Again, some key snips

The idea that we need to align ourselves with the party or candidate who most closely lines up with Catholic teaching is fine, as far as it goes. The problem is that it does not go far enough: It is hardly the robust, evangelistic, sanctify-the-world posture that our vocation to holiness and call to apostleship requires. In the fourth century, St. Ambrose stood up to and rebuked the Roman emperor Theodosius. Were he transported to our own time, I cannot imagine that he would find this policy sufficient.

...So where are the Catholics in politics? The teaching of the Church and of our bishops instructs us to take our faith as our starting point and build our politics around that. Instead, we choose our politics and then see how we can shoehorn it into our faith. We find ourselves having to explain away the conflict between the tenets of the Faith and our political allegiances in order to defend our Faustian bargain.

If Catholics were really serious about "transforming" our parties and politics, things would look much different than they do today. For example, where is the Congressional Catholic Caucus? There is a Congressional Black Caucus, a Congressional Hispanic Caucus, a Serbian Caucus, and even a Congressional Boating Caucus. So where is the caucus devoted to bringing Catholic representatives and senators together across party lines to promote, defend, and advance Catholic teaching on matters of justice and the common good? Imagine how much could be accomplished by Catholics in Congress who joined together to put the Faith first in shaping their agendas.

...So what is the solution? First, we need to quit prostituting ourselves to the political power class. We have to stop serving on the advisory boards of parties and candidates who advocate intrinsic evil. Furthermore, we have to be willing to say "Enough! We won't play along anymore."

...Will any Catholics step forward to lead us beyond the constraints of the two-party game? Whether it means a third party, or making our power felt within our existing parties by changing the rules of the game, something must be done. If we are to fulfill our call to sanctify the world, we must engage in politics in light of the gospel, and not by the categories of those more concerned with elections than the Kingdom.

I reflected quite a bit on the way back from the city last evening (before election returns started coming in.) I half-jokingly have a presidential bumper sticker for '012 on the sidebar. But maybe I should be running for county council or state legislature now. (49 seats in the SC legislature ran unopposed this year.) (Although I'd be much more at home in a soup kitchen than in a state house.) Maybe its time to put a fledgling party together as has been proposed in the past. But while the Democrats celebrate, the Republicans soul-search, maybe I ought to be doing some of that too.

And before I forget, there is a great article on Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's thinking at The Distributist Review. Check it out.

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Update

Update: Got to the polls 5 minutes before they opened in Kershaw County. There were about 30 or so people ahead of me. I usually don't vote so early, so I don't know what is normal, but the gentleman in front of me said it was more crowded than usual. I was out by 7:32.

Traffic was unusually light travelling into the city. But I did see loooong lines at polling places in Lexington County.


So, it is finally here. Recent polls show McCain up by 11 polling points in SC. For a while I thought even SC might be tight. I'll be voting early and then heading into the city to do a paying job.

Reminder that Requiem Press special on Holy Souls prayer books is still on.

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, November 03, 2008

All Saints Day/All Souls

I had a dream last Thursday evening that all the kids were grown and All Saints Day came, and we didn't know what to do. I dreamed we got together with some dear friends for the celebration-we all dressed as saints, made the "who am I?" presentations and celebrated.

Waking up I realized that we didn't celebrate All Saints Day just for the kids. So for the first time this year, I dressed up as a saint and gave my presentation on ... who else, the patron saint of swine herders: St. Anthony the Great

I am always disappointed when a great feast is moved or made non-obligatory. We traveled to our old stomping grounds, Columbia, for Mass Saturday morning. Then we went over a friend's house (the same friends who I dreamed about) and we did our saint presentations, ate breakfast, ate lunch, said the rosary, talked, (the kids got together and practiced some sort of play they are working on together.) It was a great day. And we got home in plenty of time for the animals' 2nd feeding.


Mrs. Curley and I also slipped out and went to a yard sale Saturday. Mrs. Curley had seen a lawn mower with a bag at a yard sale in our friend's neighborhood. (When I was a kid, I hated the bag. Lugging it to the woods to empty it was the worst part of mowing the lawn. But now I see it as the best way to capture clippings for the compost, to feed to the chickens).

Alas, the mower was gone-but I had a field day (to Mrs. Curley's amusement) getting other stuff.

I picked up two shovels in great condition for $3/each. I got a bevel gauge, a tape measure, two 24" x 18" maple boards, three railroad spikes (worth more their weight in metal than the pennies I paid for them), a heavy duty hack saw, and a tool I couldn't quite figure out what it was for. We also bought a guitar case for son who has guitar but no case. It looked too small, but the owner assured me it would fit any standard guitar; I guess any standard one but ours. So it now proudly houses my .22 Henry!


Sunday after Mass we drove to the old Scottish Cemetery just outside of Bethune to say the rosary for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. We figured these were mostly Presbyterians and therefore had no one praying for them. We'll hit some other local cemeteries this week.


Very busy week this week, and of course election day is tomorrow. Received an email from a reader here which links to a site in Australia. People in Australia are really praying for a pro-life victory in the US. Despite all the overseas rhetoric against the USofA, foreign countries do look to us for direction on these issues. (This was reiterated this weekend by a friend who was raised overseas.)

Oremus pro invicem!