Thursday, September 29, 2005

Father-in-law and I are cutting down some large pine trees today.

And, Requiem Press has officially changed our address to a Bethune P.O. Box. We were maintaining a Columbia P.O. Box as I often had to go into town for supplies anyway. Columbia is some 60 miles from here and with gas so high and the ability to order almost anything on the internet, the rational is gone. The P.O. Box here is 1/2 the price of a Columbia on and is 2 miles down the road. The website has been updated with the new P.O. Box in Bethune.

Please remember the discounted Holy Souls prayer books , and spread the word.... The Holy Souls could use the prayers, and frankly, the Curleys could use the cash.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

"Protecting God's Children"????

Since I am teaching CCD at the parish this year I had to attend our diocese's "safe environment" program. The one we are using is called "VIRTUS - Protecting God's Children". The three-hour session I attended yesterday was largely a waste of time in my opinion. There are two videos shown where they interview a few victims of sexual abuse and two convicted pedophiles. My general impressions of the program were these:

1. They assume we are dummies who never talk to our kids, have no idea who they play with, whose house they are at, etc. etc. (maybe this is true in many quarters?????);

2. There was no mention of God in the program except in the title (in fact they state that we need to tell our kids that the reason we cover our body is for "health and safety" reasons. There is no mention of chastity, being made in the image and likeness of God, being a temple of the Holy Spirit, etc. etc.) - only temporal things seem to matter;

3. They imply that the scandal in Catholic Church for these past two years has everything to do with pedophilia - which we know is false;

4. They present common sense things as revolutionary ideas.... (for example: a. talk to your kids and find out who they are playing with and whose house they slept over last night.... or b. if you see someone, even if its a close friend, fondling your child, you should stop it....) Okay, an exaggeration-but not much;

5. They assume it is inevitable that a victim will have life-long, devastating scars (I dispute this one the grounds that: a. it is well-known that children tend to be more resilient and recover more quickly from terrible things than adults do; b. that a child who has a proper understanding of themselves and God and sin and forgiveness will cope better; and c. if the parent doesn't sweep it under the rug for fear of embarrassment as was done by the parents and the bishops in all these cases, but deals with the abuse and the child properly, the child will cope better also.) ; and

6. Suspicion is the order of the day. Trust no one.....especially anyone who wants to teach kids.....

Number 5 is important, because if VIRTUS is the model they are going to teach - they are correct. A victim will never recover. However, supposedly the Catholic Church proposes something better.........

Of course the origin of the VIRTUS program is dubious at best - I have not done the research myself, but I have a folder of emails from friends that claim to link VIRTUS to various evil organizations.

There is also a 3-session VIRTUS for children (starting in kintergarten). To our diocese's very partial credit, the last of the 3 sessions was scrapped as being too explicit, and the first two sessions are parental opt-in or opt-out sessions, depending on your parish.

I won't teach VIRTUS to my students - it is against my religion.

The 'facilitator' at the course my wife attended admitted that VIRTUS was being implemented because otherwise the insurance company threatened to cease coverage.

That's a great headline: "Insurance companies meet to discuss Catholic Church doctrine - US bishops provide rubber stamp!"

I have read the curriculum for the students - again God is largely absent! Temporal health and safety (and insurance premiums) are the concern of curriculum. Even if this curriculum were not taught in a public, co-ed setting, it is still problematic.

It is a longstanding Church teaching that parents have the priority and obligation of teaching - especially in sexual matters. The Church has always recommended that these teachings not occur in public settings, but in the home. If bishops and pastors don't believe the parents under their spiritual guidance have the ability to teach the Truth and the Faith - especially with respect to these matters in their homes, then the bishops and the pastors should assist the parents - NOT by taking on the parents responsibility, but by teaching the parents how to carry out their God-given responsibility....

Oh yes. I forget. This isn't about "Protecting God's Children" - it is about money, and placating an unplacatable media.....

I am sorry I am so cynical this morning, but this whole thing has me been upsetting to me.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Notes from the weekend...

Here we go again. Just lost a long post of the same title. I will see if I can reconstruct, at least an abbreviated version.

We spent most of Saturday cleaning because my in-laws will be visiting Bethany this week. But first, we finally sent Requiem Press' next book off to the printer! (See the 'cover contest' here ) I will unveil the final version of the cover later this week....

Sunday morning we awoke to the cry, "A rabbit is loose!". Sure enough, after I raced downstairs and out, I saw our buck was hopping around under the rabbit cages. Now chickens are one thing. You know that you will eventually either catch them or be able to lure them back to the coop. I have limited experience with rabbits, but I figured that if that buck wanted to run away, I had little chance to catch him. Fortunately, we slowly surrounded him and I grabbed him. Apparantly, the last person (who shall remain nameless) to water the rabbits did not completely latch the cage door. The concern is not yet over. I was told when we bought the rabbits not feed them grass - that any diet change before they were old enough could kill them. Losing a doe would be one thing (we have three), but if we lose the buck, there will be no meat. So far he is looking okay.

We went to the 11:30 Mass at St. Catherine's. When we got home the younger kids played cowboys, the older boys played their instruments and later ran the dogs. Mrs. Curley and I played rummy. Sunday afternoons have turned into a waiting period. You see, on Sunday evenings we get to call Krystle and talk for a half an hour or so. We give the children 2-3 minutes each with her every other week. The time goes quickly. She is doing well. Her mishaps at the convent remind us of Maria von Trapp in "The Sound of Music". She will leave for Italy in another month or so, where she will stay for the next 2 years. Then phone calls will not be so frequent.

We have instituted a new "office" at Bethany. One of reasons I have given (when asked) for choosing the life we are attempting to lead came off the cover of a book, (Flee to the Fields, IHS press), 'when noon-time is Angelus time again'. Yet we still often miss the Angelus most days - there is no Church bells in Bethune to ring it. So Mrs. Curley and I decided to institute the "office" of bell-ringer. We have a small cast iron bell on our side porch. (Very useful for rounding up everyone at meal time). The bell-ringer is responsible for ringing the bell at 11:59 and 2:59. When we hear the bell at 11:59 we are to drop everything and find Mrs. Curley (usually in the kitchen at this time) to say the Angelus. (At 3:00 we gather and say our daily prayer for the holy souls in Purgatory.) We will rotate the bell-ringer duties among the children. The bell-ringer will be selected each week as an honor rewarded to one child for some heroic or other sacrificial act done for the family the previous week. The bell-ringer this week Matthew for helping Mrs. Curley scrub and oil the wood floors in the bedroom and for getting up by himself on his own initiative in the wee hours of the morning to scrub and oil the living and dining room floors.

Finally, please remember that Requiem Press continues to offer (from now until Nov. 1st) great discounts on large quantity purchases of "Daily Prayers for the Church Suffering". Shipping for the 500 quantity is free - so you get the books pretty close to cost and you have a great tool to promote prayers for these suffering souls. Of course we get some much needed cash flow. You can order here . Thanks to those who have ordered some of the books.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Printers and Rabbits...

Unexpected, but fruitful trip into the city (Columbia) today. The "official" image of Millet's "Sower" for the our next book (due out in late October) had come in- but in a form which I could not deal with on my equipment. I called a printer, RL Bryan (who in fact printed our Daily Prayers for the Church Suffering - Don't forget our important PLEA- here) and they said they would would take a look. Well they were able to get me a fantastic scan of the image. More vibrant color than I had expected - which of course may change again some of the planned color scheme.

I had gone to this college with the RL Bryan sales rep many years ago - we didn't know each other at that time, but had mutual friends. Anyway, when they printed the "Daily Prayers" book he took care of me. He did so again today. It turns out he loooves rabbit and gave me a tutorial on how to skin them ("its similar to doing a squirrel"). So I promised him the first two rabbits off my doe when they are ready sometime around February.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune....

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Prepping for 3rd CCD class tonight - (its going well so far...)

Doing the final touches on "Catholic Laity in the Mission of the Church" - which is by the way an new title from Russell Shaw (not a reprint).

Don't forget my plea below!

Here's a short one: My daughter, on entering the convent asked me:

"Dad, did you know that when you give a child to the Church in religious life, it is a long-standing tradition that you are exempt from the tithe for 5 years! ... Whoa, Mom did you see the look of joy on Dad's face? Sorry Dad, only kidding! "

From Bethany, the small holding inBethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Finally updated/added some links on the sidebar ....

Monday, September 19, 2005

Paying the bills .....

I plug Requiem Press here occasionally, but I seldom beg anyone to buy books and never have begged for donations (notice, no PayPal button). However, we need $$$ to keep going here.

Coincidentally, we sell holy soul prayer booklets, and November is just around the corner: one of our missions is to promote devotion to praying for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. So here is the deal:

We are offering deep discounts on quantity purchases of "Daily Prayers for the Church Suffering - a daily commitment to praying for the Holy Souls in Purgatory" at our website from now until November 2nd - or while supplies last.

The purpose of printing this book was to get it into many hands-so many prayers would be offered for the holy souls. We have sold over 1,000 copies and have distributed for free about 1,000 more. However we need to get more out there. It just so happens we are desperate for cash too ......

Please consider purchasing and distributing these books as an apostolate which will help the holy souls and, incidentally, Requiem Press. (Or you could direct your pastor to Requiem Press to buy some for the parish...)

More on the book....

The prayer booklet has a prayer for everyday of the week, directed to help a specific suffering soul, (i.e. the one most destitute of aid, the one you are most bound to pray for, etc.) followed by the Psalm 'De Profundis'. The introduction to the prayer book explains the Church teaching on purgatory and the tradition of praying for holy souls. Below is a sample page:

Booklet is 3.5" x 5.5" and has glossy pages. The print is fairly large, so all ages can easily use it. (We do the prayers everyday as a family and we know others who do also.)

Please spread the word. Both the Holy Souls and the Curley's will be thankful.

Gratefully, from Bethany, the small holding in Bethune....

Oremus pro invicem!

The Chicken Tractor

Saturday morning the boys and I converted an old dog kennel (6' x 6') we had inherited with the property into a chicken tractor. The hardest part was moving it from underneath one of our cedar trees over to the garden area. The old dog house attached to the kennel had at least 7 black widow spiders attached. I think we dispatched them all.

Two sides of the tractor are covered with plywood. (This will give the chickens a shaded area. Two sides are covered with chicken wire or other fencing wire. The top has fencing wire. We have put a small shelter inside the tractor - however, we plan to get them a retractable roof (tarp) for bad/cold weather and put in a perch. We took 6 male (we believe) chickens (about 12 weeks old) and put them in the tractor. The tractor is in part of the garden in which Mrs. Curley won't plant in until spring.

The idea is that you let the chickens manure and till your garden by rotating the tractor over the garden. Chickens naturally lay their manure and scratch. Why waste it all in one place? So we move the tractor every couple days. Further if (as is true for us) we want to prepare total new ground for planting in the spring, the chickens will take care of the hard work for us. The grass they eat will also cut the feed bill (a little).

Now the tractor is not on wheels, so we will see how well it moves later today. I do believe it will generally be more than a one-man job. You have to make sure you don't run over the chickens while moving it. I will post pictures when available (probably in a couple months based on my track record.)

If this works out, I will probably make a second one - but specifically designed for the purpose.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Film developed ......

Here are a couple of pictures which go with this post from July. The kids formed a band so Mrs. Curley and I could dance to the sounds of Glen Miller, Benny Goodman, etc. like we used to do every Thursday night at the local hotel when we lived in the city. (I should really co-ordinate my film developing with my posting...) Krystle (clarinet) and Nicholas (trumpet) are very good at their respective instruments. As I recall it was very hot that night. Mrs. Curley and I danced directly in front of a big box fan we had brought out. (The band members had no relief.)

Below, a couple of the 'band-members' take a break and cut a rug while enjoying the music of the others....

In the top picture you can see the neighbor's cornfield in the background, but the muscadine vines are ours.

Next week sometime, I will post a few pictures from our trek and "vacation" in Massachusetts before we dropped Krystle off here.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The saddest thing....

We live in a very small parish. Today's daily Mass was also the funeral Mass for a elderly parishioner. His wife had passed away a few years ago and was also buried from our parish. It seemed that most of his family came to the funeral from out of town. (None are parishioners that I know of.)

At Communion time, of the 40 or so family members present, only one family member received Holy Communion.

Upon leaving Mass I told my sons (who had served the Mass) that I didn't want to see that at my funeral. I expected my children to remain practicing Catholics and to be able to receive our Lord at my funeral Mass - and the same with my grandchildren and great-grandchildren (as the case may be)....


As reported earlier, we purchased 4 New Zealand Whites: 3 Does and 1 Buck. They each come from a different litter and range from 2 months to 3 months old, the buck being the oldest. I have built 2 cages, but will need to have 2 more built soon as the does will want their own space as they get older.

The cages are fairly simple to build - and in fact if we end up selling some of the offspring, I may offer cages (at a price) to the purchasers. The cages are 36" x 30" (and 36" tall). The cages are all wire with the openings in the wire on the bottom being approximately 1/2" x 1" and the side and top being ~ 1" x 2". I used J-clips to put the cage together. The sides, front and back are one continuous length of cage fence, joined at one corner with the J-clips. One cage has a hinged door (J-clips for hinges) on the top. (This is inconvenient for shorter people who are feeding the rabbits as the cages are hung.) I put the door to the buck's cage in front. This (while recommended by most books) can be problematic as the buck seems to be getting bolder and bolder when I open the door; someday I am afraid he will get by me (or one of the boys) and never be heard from again.

I have started building an outdoor shelter for the cages. Basically, they need some protection from sun in the summer and some shelter from cold wind/rain. So far the shelter isn't complete, I am using a tarp to protect from rain and sun now, but a permanent roof and some side shelter will appear before winter.

Our plans with the rabbits, of course, is to breed them for meat. When (at about 5 months) the does are ready to get pregnant, we bring the buck to the doe's cage. The doe will give birth in about 31 days. At 5-6 weeks old, you remove the small rabbits from their mother and sell or slaughter them. (The doe should be already pregnant again before you remove the young ones.) The idea is that you only buy feed for your buck and does and not for the meat target. The rabbits will dress up to about 2.5 pounds of meat - but is considered more dense than chicken, so you may not need quite as much meeat as equivalent to a chicken. (You can let them get bigger; NZ Whites get to 10 lbs, but then you must buy feed for them and have more cages, etc. etc.) I figure right now we will probably need two rabbits for a meal, possibly 3 as the younger ones get older.

The other alternative is to sell the rabbits (the rate in SC is about $5/rabbit). If you figure it out, selling the rabbits may be more cost effective than eating them - especially if you sell value added products like cages. (I can put together a cage in about 1/2 hour - after only doing 2).

I figure that we will do a combination (eating and selling) unless we find there is a tremendous demand for rabbits in Kershaw County!

Jeff at Hallowed Ground says of his chicken butchering experience: "Butchering chickens is the most brutal thing I have ever done. It wasn't fun, it stinks, and the first one even made me a little queasy. I may never do it again, but I'm glad we did it this once."

I have now butchered some 10-12 chickens. I don't like it but am getting better/quicker at it. I dread doing the rabbits even more than I dreaded the chickens.... but unless a Requiem Press book becomes a true bestseller - I figure I will be butchering chickens and rabbits for some years whether I like it or not.....

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Monday morning...

Some of the kids have been fighting a minor bug the last few days, so Sunday morning I decided I would let them sleep in a bit (Mass is at 11:30) and do their 'animal' chores: feed and water the dogs, chickens, rabbits, and gather eggs. I very seldom if ever do any of these chores. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

A flock of geese circled over our house and the neighboring cornfield several times before landing next to the cornfield. A hen escaped the coop while I was feeding them and I chased her down. I carefully picked through eggs, (the hens are setting on some eggs which we marked, but the others keep laying in the same bin), for the unmarked eggs.

All in all, it was a peaceful and relaxing 30-40 minutes. I enjoy this work - yet I hardly ever do it. I sit in my office and see Mrs. Curley and kids working our garden, raising the animals - and it was I who wanted to be the farmer. Ah .............

Saturday morning wasn't so peaceful. I woke up with the alarm that only 1 of our dogs (of 4) was in the pen-(a goat pen we inherited with the property keeps the dogs). The back gate was wide open and the dogs gone. Who knows how long they had been missing. My greatest concern was that Challenger (see here) would get himself shot by one of the neighbors who keep poultry. Mrs. Curley was convinced they were gone forever. They older boys were walking around sorrowfully - sometimes you could catch one on his knees praying for canine return. Myself - I was confident (unless shot) that they would return. But, as much as I like our dogs, I also realize that 4 dogs are 2 or 3 too many. Unfortunately my favorites had taken off. Well... they did return; wet, exhausted and (it looked) penitent. But half of Saturday had been shot looking for them and trying to determine how they had opened the back gate.

We heard from our oldest daughter, who, as you know, is here . She is doing well - when not burning brownies in the convent kitchen or getting the schedule mixed up. It was good to hear her voice and know she is happy.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, September 09, 2005

I won't blog again until I get 10 comments on this post.....

UPDATE: Thanks to all who voted. The clear winner is of course, Millet's 'Sower'. (I myself had wondered if anyone would see the 70's in Cover A - apparently so.) I agree that both the type-face and the placement of the title, etc. on the cover needs some improvement. In fact before the first comments were in, we had already done some work improving these things. Again, thanks for all the votes and comments. I do appreciate it.

I actually stumbled upon the 'Sower' accidently, and then had a hard time finding where it resides, (Clark Art Institute in MA), especially since he did another 'Sower' some 15 years earlier which is much more famous. I had seen his "Angelus", prints are available from several Catholic sources, but never knew heard of the Millet before. In researching this picture, I came across much more of his work and absolutely love it. My oldest son made the comment (when looking over my shoulder at some Millet's work on French peasant/farm life we found on the internet) the he appreciates it much more now than he would have when we lived in the city a year ago.

Finally, looking at some of posts this past month or so, I realize that I have written, "I will post more about this later...", numerous times, but failed every time in keeping my promise. I am going to try to come through on those promises this week.

Again, thanks for taking the time in giving me your valuable input.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!


I need your help. I have 2 competing cover concepts for our next book. We need to make a decision. Perhaps a Friday is not the best day to be making this plea with the weekend coming, but....

Taking a nod from this post at People of the Book blog I have decided to test run my covers here at BethuneCatholic.

The drawing on Cover A is a draft. The illustration of Cover B is Jean-Francois Millet's 'Sower' [He did three, this is perhaps the last (c. 1860s) of them. His best known work in today's Catholic circles would be "The Angelus". Much of his work was concerned with the life of French peasants.]


Even if you don't like either, please let me know. My threat is good - No more blogging til I get 10 comments on these cover.

Vote away..... (And thanks)

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Happy Birthday Blessed Mother!

Update: What a birthday present for Our Lady.... Jeff at Hallowed Ground is back from his blogfast.

We went to Mass as a family this morning to celebrate the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. After our mid-day meal we will celebrate with a cake; tonight we will pray the Litany of Loreto after the family rosary....

I have neglected to mention this timely post from the pew lady which reminds us of the most important (but most forgotten) donation we can make for the victims of Katrina....

Requiem Press' is sending our next book to the printer soon. Stay tuned for more news on this...

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


The days have been a bit cooler of late, but this morning was very cool. Of course this means all those chores I was putting off for cooler weather are now in forefront.

Our van is running again also. (I was correct, it was a starter problem - but thankfully it didn't need replacement). This means we can start attending daily Mass once again.

Finally, a prayer request: Mrs. Curley and I are teaching CCD to the high school group at the parish starting tonight. We'd appreciate any extra prayers available.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Labor Day

I don't recall the origins of Labor Day from American History - although I am sure it is quite accessible. But I would speculate that Labor Day was in some sense a guarantee that the new class of worker, heretofore virtually unknown-the employee of a large corporation-was guaranteed a holiday in 'appreciation' of their labor. The craftsman, artisan, farmer, and shop owner may have benefited (although it is doubtful that the farmer took the day off) from Labor Day, but these "self-employed" were not the target beneficiaries for the new holiday.

Many years later now, who gets Labor Day off as a holiday? Most factory workers (declining in number as they are), most professionals, and most small businesses get the day off. But service workers, and retail workers, these who are least paid in our society and fastest growing in number, work on Labor Day.

Of course Requiem Press was doing business on Labor Day. We are still recovering from a month with the computer system essentially non-functional, (and our short family "vacation").

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, September 05, 2005


Not to take away from the main thesis of the article, but this particular excerpt caught my eye:

A news commentator mentioned it Thursday. We weren’t the way we used to be, he noted, back when people knew how to fend for themselves, how to hunt and start fires, how to grow things and make things. Now we are all dependent; we need electricity and grocery stores and a complex web of communication and transportation, just to survive. We are, he said, “fragile” and he might have added, “broken.”

We don't know how to take care of ourselves anymore. We are too dependent on infrastructure. At Bethany, we are making an effort to understand how to fend for ourselves, but we have a long way to go. (I have a dead car in the driveway which probably needs only a new solonoid or starter, yet I am not sure how to make sure and then how to fix it.)

But as I contemplate these things, I realize that the ideal of "independence", while certainly American, it is not necessarily a good thing in all aspects. It really depends on what you mean. Interdependence of peoples is good. It makes for peace in a community, in a country.... It is the hallmark of early Christian communities.

The fracturing of the family-first the extended family by our mobile and relocating society and then the fracturing of the immediate family through divorce, contraception, abortion, etc.-have devastated our ability to depend on each other. We don't know our neighbors in many communities - so we don't even try to depend on them. We can't depend on our families because they are either fractured or thousands of miles away. So we depend on government, utility companies, and the like.

In fact, we depend on infrastructure now and not on each other - and not on God!

During these disasters, people are once again forced to depend on each other-unfortunately we see sometimes, as in the reports of rape and mayhem in New Orleans, that some of the people can not be depended on when others are in need.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Just added a picture to the "Delivered!" post below. Have some more pictures which I will add as time permits.

Have not posted at all about New Orleans - others have done a much better job. But do remember to pray for those suffering. -- Oremus pro invicem!


We picked up our New Zealand Whites yesterday (1 buck, 3 does). While I will post more on this later, I do have one piece of advice for all you future rabbit-raisers, (learned from experience): Have your cages made and ready before you bring said rabbits home......More later.

From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune...

Oremus pro invicem!