Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Report

Wouldn't you know ... just as I decide to quit regular or daily posting two things happen: 1) I get literally hundreds of hits at Bethune Catholic (due my post on the new bishop for Charleston) and 2) my blog header and all the Requiem Press book images disappear. (Fixed them last night.) Thus, with the opportunity for a host of new readers of BC and new book customers squandered, I return for an update of what's going on around here.


First, I can't resist passing on a snippet of a great article written by Reid Buckley from The American Conservative (hat tip to Pro Ecclesia) on conservatism. (He sounds a little like a kindred spirit from the clip I selected):

When last did you hear a conservative spokesman deplore yet another six-lane highway, yet another fast-food alley, yet another graceless subdivision, yet another Super Wal-Mart or Lowe’s that sucks the life out of small village businesses, yet one more onslaught against neighborhood and nature that is masked under the name of progress? Unless it is a bridge in Alaska from nowhere to nowhere, you will not hear the deepest red-dyed congressman denounce the progressive uglification of our natural inheritance, as though beauty is of no concern. Have you flown recently from Newport News to Boston at 25,000 feet on a clear day and gazed down upon the horror of American civilization? What man hath wrought! What we have done to this beautiful land? Dear God, forgive us! But when last did you hear a conservative oppose a new mall because it is ugly, an affront to the eye, accustoming thousands of human beings to dehumanizing blows against the aesthetic sense until it is benumbed? The good, the true, and the beautiful are inseparably joined. One cannot damage one without doing harm to the others. Those who fail to comprehend this are morally in error on the dialectical front, though they may be personally virtuous.


.... Where are our Friedrich Hayeks of The Road to Serfdom, our Eric Voegelins of The New Science of Politics, our Russell Kirks of The Conservative Mind? Where is our philosopher? Meantime, on the practical front, what can conservatives do? The very first thing is to dissociate from the Republican Party, which has become an albatross around the neck of integrity.




Wow! This man can write (and where indeed is our philosopher?)


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So how about some pictures of the snow? You can see we got about an inch. My daughters built a snowman. The rest of the fun seemed to be in attacking me with snowballs. You should see the number of pictures Mrs. Curley got with snowballs ricocheting off some part of me.


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I read an article in Scientific American (I think NPR did a bit on it last week too) about how meat consumption increases greenhouse gases. Now, I am the first to understand that Scientific American is not all about pure science-they are often science with an agenda. With that caveat understood, the article gives data that beef consumption is the worst offender, pork and chicken somewhat less.


Many factors go into their data: methane, feed production, transportation, etc.


Although the article states:





Eating locally produced food, for instance, can reduce the need for transport-though food inefficiently shipped in small batches on trucks from nearby farms can turn out to save surprisingly little in greenhouse emissions.




I guess this depends on how local and how small the farm is. A smaller farm would have much less mechanized equipment, would probably use the manure productively-recycling it instead of dumping it, etc.


Everything is pointing towards small is beautiful, but our leaders know only the promise of centralization and economies of scale. They can't think outside the box.


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Until recently I never realized that pragmatism was the philosophy whereby one does what works regardless of the morality of the action. Knowing this, I would find being considered one morally repugnant-yet being a pragmatist seems to be an honorable title for most politicians bestowed by the media. Obama is now "a pragmatist".


I guess this could be good in specific instances (like his personal appeal to "Catholic" Nancy Pelosi to remove funding for Planned Parenthood from the Economic Stimulus Package), but in the long run, it is bad. Our country needs unadulterated virtue and moral integrity right now.


Speaking of moral integrity, we were all told by both the Obama people and the media that new Treasury Secretary (boss of the IRS) Timothy Geithner's tax flap was just "an honest mistake" . Read the evidence to the contrary provided by The Yeoman Farmer, here .


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People who know me, know I don't spend too much time in the kitchen. If I have a beer, I can grill hamburgers or pork chops. I can boil hot dogs and make my favorite tuna salad (hard boiled eggs, mayo, canned tuna, and a dash of Bell's Seasoning), and oh yes, I can fry or scramble eggs. But my ventures in the kitchen are usually limited to these rare occasions. Times may be a changing....


We have a lot of pork belly. Some we have cured into bacon, but we still have a bunch. So I looked around the Internet and found a recipe for pork belly which sounded interesting. I changed it a little to my taste (namely I got rid of the onions and used less olive oil cause we were running out and a few other small twists.) Here it is in essence:


Cut up 4 apples into wedges. Place apples, 1/2 cup of honey, 1/3 cup of olive oil and some thyme (I used too much) in the bottom of a roasting pan. Place pork belly on top (fat side up). Cook for 1.5 hours at 33o F. Add cold water and cook for another 45 minutes - hour. Remove from oven. Once cool, place pork belly between two plates with heavy object on top (I used a brick). Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Take apples and any liquid left over and refrigerate. Cut pork belly into 1 inch squares. Puree the apple stuff. Fry pork belly (fat side down) in olive oil for about 3-4 minutes on medium heat. Then turn over and cook, pouring the puree on top of the pork belly. Serve.

It was delicious-but we could of used more of it. I have some more pork belly thawing now so we can do it again.

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Finally, dare I hope? I think one of the gilts is pregnant. Here is number 3 son giving Baby a belly rub.


We've been praying for a new bishop for so long, dedicating our Angelus for this intention, now we don't know what to pray for-of course there are no shortage of worthy intentions.


Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Already broken my promise...if you read the comments to my last post, you'd see that the new bishop of Charleston, to named tomorrow(?) is Msgr. Robert Guglielmone, Rector of St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre, NY. (Hat tip to Jim Dorchak who reported it first.)

Anyone know anything about him?

Our Lady of Joyful Hope, pray for us!

Obligatory pre-leave post

Well, not exactly.


So you may have noticed that it has been a longer than usual stretch of inactivity here at Bethune Catholic. If I look back, I see I usually post almost every day but the weekends. It's not that I have nothing to write about. There is the cunning short story I read last night by Kressmann Taylor entitled Address Unknown; there is the media gushing as never before over a president; there is the snow storm to report on (and a cool video of a snowball fight); there is so much ---- but so little time.


Between paying work, non-paying work, and the farm, I have been stretched pretty thin of late, and I want to make sure the priorities are taken care of. Bethune Catholic has become a luxury like Guinness.

For the next while (who knows how long?), I think I will be going to a once a week (may twice a week if I can't help myself) post giving homestead updates and any strong opinions on other subjects that I may harbor.

I leave you with a picture to hearten you in in the cold weather and a prayer ... Oremus pro invicem!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The feast of St. Anthony the Great (patron of swineherds) passed without mention on Saturday. I have to put him on our special celebration calendar for the future.

Am not making my usual weekly trek to the city this morning due to projected bad weather. Looking out the dark window this morning, it doesn't appear to have snowed overnight as predicted, but none-the-less it is safer in snow, sleet, and ice (even just a little) to stay off the roads around these parts.

I dreamt last night that I was entering a Benedictine monastery today, and that my final civilian act was to put up a notice announcing it here at Bethune Catholic. It was so real that when I awoke this morning I was surprised for a moment to realize I was married and was not entering the monastery at all.

You can see I have nothing really to say this morning, so I will get back to work.

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Weekend Report

The weather held up (not too cold) for the Stand-Up for Life Rally in Columbia this Saturday. They had us on the back side of the capital building instead of the street side. I don't know why. Someone said because of the MLK rally today, they wouldn't let us use the street side on Saturday. Doesn't make sense to me.

Because the area was smaller, the crowd looked bigger, but who knows.

I will say this, more or our diocesan priests used to show up for the rally when Bishop Baker was here (he always showed up). Am I being too cynical?

I must confess I didn't pay too close attention to the speeches, but it seems I didn't hear much or anything about FOCA. However, I did finally meet Greencastle and two of her children at the rally. Of course I have known her husband for years, having worked at with him. Mrs. Curley spend more time talking than I did, but I am very glad we finally met. Her line a couple years ago that "Bethune Catholic" was akin to saying "an Irish Muslim" still cracks me up.

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We have just about finished the turnips and collards from the fall garden. We ate some, but especially the turnips which were very numerous, we used as supplemental feed for the animals. The goats will eat the greens, the chickens the fruit. Or, we have two pigs that will eat the greens but not the turnip, and three pigs that will eat both.

During the winter with not much greenery around, having these available for the livestock was great-although we ran out a month or so short.

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Dishwasher fixed (credit to Mrs. Curley for diagnosis), but still have two cars down. I have ruled some things out (and broke a vacuum hose myself during the investigation) but have a few more things to check. But first back to the office work.

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, January 16, 2009

various

Goats are easier to slaughter than pigs (but harder than chickens). They are smaller and skin much more easily. Yesterday was my first male goat-but it came off without a hitch. We have ground meat again in the freezer.

We were supposed to slaughter some chickens today, but its a bit cold. Plucking is harder in the cold. Of course you can scald and then pluck, but the wet feathers maker the plucker even more uncomfortable.

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Headline story in this week's Catholic Miscellany:

Pope: Crisis calls for a new economic model

The current financial crisis should be seen as a challenge to find new economic models that promote honesty, development and concern for the environment, Pope Benedict XVI said.

"We need to try to establish a 'virtuous circle of living'" simply and fighting poverty, the pope said Jan. 1 as he celebrated Mass for the feast of Mary Mother of God...

Sounds like a good plan to me. May Distributism fits the bill?

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Last night we went to the county yearly library sale. I picked up a very large volume on composting; Homesteading by Gene Logsdon; The Furniture Doctor by George Grotz; and a few other odds and ends. Mrs. Curley picked up several cookbooks.

The children had a field day, coming home with the complete Tarzan series in hardback, most of the Black Stallion series, some Dickens, etc.

One blight on the night were the other patrons. My two daughters told of several occasions where they were told gruffly to MOVE!, and were even pushed once as they looked through books in the children's section. I notice that my high school boys weren't pushed around, but these book bargain dealers were quick to shove little girls.

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It's a good thing we are not doing the chickens today. I woke up not feeling well. Besides, I have 2 cars down and a dishwasher that has suddenly decided to leak. I hope I get this stuff fixed and I recover by the morning as tomorrow we plan to go to the Stand up Life march and rally in Columbia.

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cold front here. There were rumors last night that we would see single digits by the weekend, but I think they were only rumors. Cold weather is good slaughter weather. We are doing a goat today and 10 overdue chickens tomorrow. Time to reload the freezer, you know.

I am trying to determine the legal requirements to sell some whole hog sausage in SC. I know I have to use a USDA-approved butcher, but after that do I have to have a dedicated freezer to store it and can I see it out of a cooler at the local farmer's market? The folly the red tape for a small, local producer, I have documented in other posts.

Looks like I have detective work to do.

Time to go.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Put a new poem up at The Requiem Reader .

Trying to catch up in the office today as I was in the city all day yesterday, and I have to change the oil in three cars as well as check out some nagging problems. Busy day ahead.

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I've been thinking quite a bit about "new media" and my real love: books. As a publisher, I need to keep up with the trends or risk being left behind. (And if no one reads the books we publish, how much good can they do?) We'd like to put a couple of our books on audio, and I'd like to have a few e-books available too. Something to think about....

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

NPR had a story this morning on immigration in Italy. Apparently there is a backlash against the immigrants, especially against immigrants from Africa. Because the native Italian population is aging (low birth rate) Italy needs the immigrants as workers, yet they resist the dilution of their culture.

The mayor of Citadella says:

"We're very frightened by what we see around us. We write the rules here, we want to safeguard our culture," he says. "Yes, we're raising the drawbridge, and we're on the battlements to defend ourselves from external attacks."

Yet isn't it the Italians themselves who have diluted their own culture in many ways (not just by creating the need for immigrant workers) by ignoring Church teachings, especially those of sexual morality?

History repeats itself.

Of course America is its own melting pot. Yet even here, I see resistance from even first and second generation immigrants against the new immigration from Latin America.

I don't know how things will play out in Europe, but here, it seems (and before I stick my neck out, let me say that many paragraphs-even books could be devoted to the following assertion and to clarifications thereof) that most immigration waves haven't had a lasting effect on the culture. Perhaps it is because immigration to America from various parts of the world has been a constant happening from the beginning. Certainly the culture has been changing from predominantly Protestant to the now evolving secular.

I note well that the predominantly Catholic immigration of past centuries had a temporary effect, but more Catholics were assimilated to the Protestant culture (even if they remain Catholic in name) than the American culture becoming more Catholic. This is evidenced by the transition to Secularism (or it is Modernism).

Europe, having already tossing its Christian roots to a great extent and embracing the secular culture may have a different path ahead. But what is it?

Oremus pro invicem!

From The Catholic World Report:

It might be a perception that my active rejection of safe environment programs for children as an unjustified intrusion on both the innocence of the child and the integrity of the family reflects a glimmer of courage. But there too, I simply am responding to the courageous resistance to these things already manifested by hundreds of concerned and faithful Catholic laity. They are the real bearers of the badges of courage. In the midst of their own schools and parishes they have borne insult, rejection, repudiation, and even discrimination because of their firm upholding of the truth. - Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker, Oregon

This simple statement, I am sure, can cause tears of joy in some circles. I have been mostly fortunate in the parishes and schools my family has been involved with. But my parents never received the credit for their constant battle for truth and the real Faith they waged when I was growing up-only persecution. Fortunately we play for the end game and not for accolades on earth. (But a little recognition, like this from Bishop Vasa, can buoy the spirit.)

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Yesterday my 14 year-old son asked me whether if I could have one of two wishes granted would I opt for world peace or certain knowledge of my vocation (at 14). I replied that if at 14 I had known my bride was to be Mrs. Curley, it might never have happened...that I may have sought Mrs. Curley out, found I didn't like her and rejected my vocation; that Mrs. Curley may have not liked the 14-year-old me and thought I was strange for insisting that "God appearred to me and told me we were to get married."; and that all the things I have learned and experienced in life, including in the struggle to determine God's will have prepared me for accepting and doing my best in my vocation.

I got to thinking that I was blessed, 1) to have a son who is pondering such thoughts, and 2) that though my response was true, it is a hard one to live, even now. What does God want of me now? Which direction/endeavor should I concentrate my efforts?

Same answer: Pray and be holy. All else will come.

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, January 12, 2009


My son received the first three books in the Tarzan series by Edgar Rice Burroughs from my sister. Having enjoyed them in my youth, I picked up the first when son had finished it.


Oh it was enjoyable-maybe even more so than when I read it so many years ago. But I pay the price. Somehow, I can't justify staying up past midnight reading Tarzan. A late start to a very busy day this morning ....

Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Not feeling too well today, must be eating out (business) twice in one week. I'm not used to 'regular' food. The boys get a rare Saturday off from work for most of the day as I have been staying in the office catching up on some things.


Mrs. Curley took the following pictures the other day from our yard, which just wouldn't have been possible with our 35mm camera.

And finally, a little demonstration by number 4 son, who has raised some RI Reds.

video



Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Two things I received for Christmas



The first: Dirt Hog by Kelly Klober. This is a book I really wanted. K. Klober also wrote the Storey's guide to raising pigs (which I own), but this book is more specific to the kind of hog-raising we are endeavoring. Mr. Klober writes convincingly that outdoor-raised pork, and more specifically pasture-raised pork is best for the pig and the market. Of course we don't have enough land to pasture-raise, but dry-lots are the next best thing.


If you are raising pigs outdoors, the best two books I have found (and not really all that repetitive) are these by Kelly Klober.

The desire for the second was actually inspired by fellow-blogger Pro Ecclesia. This is a great CD. In fact my sons play it on almost every night when cleaning up supper.

I haven't talked much about RequiemPress in the past few months, but we haven't gone away. I think 2009 is going to be an interesting year for us, with some strong new releases. More to come....

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I usually don't visit Inside Catholic too much, but did yesterday, and read this from Eric Pavlat:

Have you ever had those moments where you feel like God has blessed you with an incredible word of knowledge, only to realize (sometimes only seconds later) that people have been telling you this for years?

I had one today during adoration. Deep in meditation, I came to the sudden realization that we should be good in order to please God, whom we love as children love a Father. This was a huge insight to me ... for about seven seconds. "Well, duh," I said to myself.

It remained huge for me the rest of the day and hopefully the rest of my life. I clearly remember as a child saying an extra rosary on the bus on the way to school or walking to St. Tim's during summer vacation for a visit or for Mass-because I wanted to please God.

I think what happens is that we grow up and think we aren't children anymore-but we must be. Christ said we must become like children...maybe this is what it means.

Being too intellectual about God has always been my downfall. I thought you could get to God by your head, but really your heart has to lead the way. So we grow up and realize that God doesn't have emotions, we can't make Him happy by our extra prayers, so things become an intellectual obligation, and our heart goes out of it.

Here I was a year or so ago trying to write a book on how fathers could/should copy the attributes of God, but I forgot about the fundamentals. When I do wrong, I seek God's mercy....not his justice. I wonder now whether I give more justice or more mercy to my children when they do wrong. (More frequent confession will help on this one.)

I spent the day in the car meditating on this point-God as our Father. A whole lot more than what I have written came out. Just when you think you know it all, you remember what you forgot.....

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One failure of our Christmas season (not having ended completely for us. The tree will remain til at least the Baptism of the Lord and likely til the Presentation) is that we didn't send out a single Christmas Card. Mrs. Curley and I are contemplating doing a "new year's letter" for all the family and friends we need to catch up with.

And of note, when I got home from the city last night, the family had postponed dinner for me as it was the Feast of the Epiphany. I suddenly noticed Mrs. Curley was wearing camo socks! Hmmm. Something to keep my eye on.

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

So here is the Epiphany! Christ is revealed to the nations. As I wrote to my children this morning (I often write them a note if I am going into town to work) it is our job now to reveal Christ to those around us-beginning at home.

I feel I have to catch up (here) on two weeks worth of life, but as this is impossible, I will relate some highlights.

We carolled at the local Dollar General store on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning the boys served Mass in the new cassocks (ordered in June, promised in September, arrived the week before Christmas).

Christmas day was wonderful. We had some friends over and sang and rejoiced together. During the next few days, we did some day-visiting with friends, having some of the best pumpkin pie and boston butt found in the world. My sister came to visit, and again we celebrated Christmas.

Finally we got back to work here. As noted on the 29th, we had a dry-lot issue. We built a new pen, house, and moved the boar and gilts without incident (Is it experience or luck? Am I almost ready to write a book?). We will leave the two muddy pens empty for at least 3 months.

Of note, Mrs. Curley received a digital camera for Christmas. The video a few days ago is courtesy of "Mrs. Curley's" new piece of technology. (What happened to 'flipping the switch' on technology? Another story to be discussed, but already this new marvel of technology has proven the saying, true even of so-called labor-saving devices: the more you have, the more time you have to spend taking care of it.)

Merry Christmas! Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, January 05, 2009

After 2 weeks of barely being in the office, I find there is much to catch up on. I haven't been reading my favorite blogs; I haven't been posting; and I haven't done much work. The break has been good for the soul and body, but it is time to get back to the regular schedule. I will resume posting regularly tomorrow.

Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Who are these boys?

video

Just a couple of the boys fooling around singing the country classic "Noah's Ark". We've been having a good time around here!

Oremus pro invicem!