Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I never read any of Joyce Kilmer's poetry. My closest contact with him was the James Cagney/Pat O'Brien movie: The Fighting 69th. Someone played him in this movie, as he was in this regiment and died fighting in WWI . But in From James J. Daly, SJ's A Cheerful Ascetic there is an essay on Joyce Kilmer-convert to Catholicism and excerpts from some of his letters. Here's a letter which caught my eye:

I need some stricter discipline, I think, and it's hard to get it. I enjoy my confessor's direction very much; he's a fine old Irishman with no nonsense about him. But I need to be called a fool, I need to have some conceit and sophistication knocked out of me. I suppose you think this is "enthusiasm"-that much-heralded danger of converts. Perhaps it is, but I don't think so. I know I'm glad I live two miles from the church, because it's excellent for a lazy person like myself to be made to exert himself for religion. And I wish I had a stern medieval confessor-the sort one reads about in anti-Catholic books-who would inflict real penances. The saying of Hail Marys and Our Fathers is no penance, it's a delight.

Read that last line again.


We have now lost three piglets; the one we were nursing took a turn for the better on Saturday morning and then just died Saturday evening. And then yesterday it looks like a little piglet was the victim of being laid on. As I said before, its not how many are born, but how many are weaned.

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, July 24, 2009


Last evening (right on schedule) our second gilt (Duroc/York cross) farrowed. 16 live births!

A couple were difficult-in fact I had the hot soapy water ready with a a restraint as over an hour passed between the first and second piglet-the second being huge. (20 minutes is usual.) There was a second difficult one at about piglet 8. It came out breach (which in general is okay) but for a while it looked like only one hoof was coming. This piglet is very weak and in the house being nursed now.

About 1/2 way through the farrowing we had a downpour-fortunately it was fairly short. Of course Big Spot had made her nest in the open. She eventually retreated into her house, and we quietly moved the piglets in with her.

We went to bed without knowing the final outcome.

This morning I found piglet had escaped the pen and was wandering. Another had been apparently set on and was dead. And the one we are now nursing, looked dead in the farrowing house, but when I went to remove it, it was still breathing. I brought is in and daughter and Mrs. Curley started working on him. We don't have much hope, but my daughter is trying.

In the picture above, note all the black pigs. Guess dad's genes are pretty dominant. I love it. I love colored pigs. (Tarzan will get his watermelon today!)

16 live births from a gilt is almost double than what would be expected or hoped for. (The twelve we had from the first farrowing this year was very pleasing.) I bought the Big Spot from a friend who also sold me the two 'reds' that I have pictured here before. Of course how many you wean is always the big number. We have a couple runts in there. We'll see how they all do.

Finally, an area farmer let us take the watermelons he can't sell due to over-ripeness or other reasons. The pigs love them-but will get pretty fat unless we control consumption.

God has blessed us greatly.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I never could resist reading or writing about Thomas More. If ever there was a saint's life or writer who could touch me, it is More.

My sister (from the dark and bloody ground) sent me a collection of essays by James J. Daly, SJ (1st published in 1931 - this edition is 1968). Three of the essays are on Thomas More.

It comes to this: if serious people are tempted to fling up their hands at the casual air with which saints trifle with misfortune, it is only because serious people are not serious enough. Take, for instance, Bishop Burnet (A "Protestant Bishop, historian of the Reformation, was shocked at what he was pleased to consider the levity of Sir Thomas on the momentous occasion" of mounting the scaffold-JC). It is very probable that he (Burnet) did not wear a hair shirt most of his life, nor get up every morning at two o'clock to spend most of the time in prayer and the rest in study til seven o'clock Mass. Thomas More did these things and many other hard things like them, which it is scarcely and injustice to the bishop to surmise that he never dreamed of doing. It is not, therefore, idle or paradoxical to conclude that Sir Thomas was the more serious

Sounds like I need to get more serious!


We have a gilt ready to farrow any day now, (actually due tomorrow.) She is a Duroc/York cross. I am interested in how the piglets (daddy a Hampshire) will look.

We took a ride on Saturday and looked at a few hogs, including some Old Spots. Boy, they looked interesting. But we need to consolidate what we have for the moment.

Speaking of which, we sold most of our herd of goats this past week. We have two more (wethers) to sell (or put in the freezer) and one nannie left. I think I can sell the nannie this week. We will use their old stomping grounds for garden - perhaps the richest soil on the property.


You may have noted that I haven't spent much time posting about Requiem Press in recent months, but then again posts have been sparse anyhow. There is some news to report.....soon. So stay tuned.

Busy day on the homestead on this feast of St. Mary Magdalen. I think my Dad had a devotion to her. We found an old beat up holy card of Mary Magdalen in his sports coat pocket. I still have it.

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Dorothy Day:

I felt even at fifteen, that God meant man to be happy, that He meant to provide him with what he needed to maintain life in order to be happy, and that we didn not need to have quite so much destitution and misery as I saw all around and read of in the daily press. -From The Long Lonliness

A friend was just remarking to me the other day what a relevation it was to him to realize that God made the earth for him (or us) to satisfy our needs so we could be happy. You may say "Sure, sure I know that"-but think about it. Do you?

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Back to Ireland

Our beloved pastor, Fr. John O'Holohan SJ, returned to Ireland after some 20 years as a missionary in the States, preceded by some 20 years as a missionary in Zambia. He's not retired, he will be the chaplain to a hospital in Dublin and help out at parish.

We love you Father John! You have lifted our hearts closer to God these past 5 years! Pray for us - we will pray for you!


Saw two kid's movies this week; a rare occurrence around here. First Cars. It's really the story of Bethune. In the 1960's, I-95 opens and towns along the former main route from Maine to Florida (Route 1) begin to die. Bethune used to have a truck stop, bowling alley, restaurants, movie theater, schools. It's all gone (the elementary school is hanging on, but just barely.)

Then, due to rain canceling our beach trip, we went into Columbia for a free Tuesday morning showing of Charlotte's Web at the Sandhills movie theater. (I have never read the book or seen the orginal cartoon version-although all my kids had done both.) I think I appreciated the movie much more now that I am out here homesteading than I would have 6 years ago. Pretty funny, and truly "G"-rated as advertised.


I have so much good stuff to write about around here, but am so busy, I don't have much time on the computer. Actually, am thankful for that. I am at the stage where I almost want to chuck it-but I do make some $$ here and there using it, so it can't go yet.

I will leave you with a photo from the goings-on around here. We had the pleasure of harvesting our neighbor's field of corn and stalks, which was 'through' for the season due to lack of rain (thankfully we have been getting rain again the past 2-3 days.) The corn we will feed the hogs (we ate a little ourselves) and the stalks we will dry and feed the cows. Here are our first attempts at corn shocks.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009