Thursday, October 22, 2009

Of animals

We have now hit 3 deers with 3 different cars in less than 5 years. I should call our fleet of cars deer magnets. I hit a buck on Route 1 just north of Camden on Monday. The grill and right headline are gone. The radiator is bent and was knocked back into the serpentine belt. Fortunately (and miraculously) the radiator did not leak. I had a piece of wire in the truck and tied the radiator back to the front of the engine compartment. And it made it home okay. Don't have comprehensive on the '87 truck, so I am on my own. I figure a new radiator isn't that hard to install and I can pick up a grill at a junk yard.

I would have put the buck in the back of the pick up and brought it home (I did kill it) but I had a 200lb pig (another story) in the back of the truck and had no room.


Goats were born last year on number 2 daughters birthday; our cow calved on my birthday this year; our roving gamecock hen hatched 5 bitties on number 3 daughter's birthday this October. I guess this isn't so coincidental considering how much livestock we have around here, but it is interesting.


Today it is official, I now have 3 teenage boys in the house. God is good.

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

We have a gilt from our July 23rd litter which we were keeping for our own freezer-but boy she looks too good to eat. I have never seen a pig at this age have so much definition. Her growth is good also. She would make a fine addition to someone's herd. I'll try to remember to post a picture of 'Blackie" (some people around here think she should be named "Inkie", however being bound, at present, for the freezer, it doesn't seem to matter much.)


I am being interviewed on the Catholic Radio station here in SC today, around 2:30. Every year they broadcast live from the State Fair which opened yesterday. They re-broadcast the interviews during their radio-thon. I will be talking about Requiem Press and hopefully in particular pushing John Meehan's Two Towers-the de-Christianization of America and a plan for renewal.


Our cow is Irish-Catholic although she was raised Baptist. I know because when milking her she is most quiet during my singing (and I have not a good voice) of Danny Boy, Praise My Soul the King of Heaven, and Haily Holy Queen.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Life on the Homestead

So last evening I rushed home from my weekly gig in the city so I could milk and feed the animals with oldest son while the rest of the family road up to St. Catherine's for a Holy Hour and Benediction.

As I am cutting some greens to feed the pigs, I notice that our latest sow is practically climbing over her fencing, in this case a log barricade. I go over to give her some greens and see that her farrowing area is empty ... no piglets! None!

I look in the adjoining pens, all but one of which has members of the herd. No piglets! Did they get out and get eaten by the older hogs? I am calling for my son "Where are the piglets?" I am just imagining another disaster.

Ah, but God was with us. As I continue to call, all 15 come running out of the woods on the other side of the pens. A few make their way through the empty pen and squeeze through a hole they've managed to make back into their own pen. Momentarily their momma sow calls them, and they all return.

We feed the pigs. Son patches the hole while I milk Mabel. Whew!


Notice that I mentioned feeding greens to the pigs in the story above. That's right. Just a few good rains (it is raining again today-which reminds me, we need to finish the milking barn, including finishing the roof!) and my fall garden is coming alive. This morning half the pigs' rations were made up of kale, Swiss chard, turnip greens, collard greens, and radishes.

If my 40 white leghorns and Comets would just start laying, we could practically eliminate most of the commercial grain. Milk, boiled table scraps, greens, eggs, hay and nuts make a pretty well-rounded diet.

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Can't believe I had never heard of the Foxfire anthology books. Mrs. Curley picked up a couple at our local library (Vol. 1 & 6) and I am enjoying them. I thought it would be the instructional articles (the fine art of moon-shining?) that would be most interesting-but it is the interviews with some of the old timers from Appalachia. (Once more I hear the refrain, "We never had money, but we had plenty to eat.")


We took a road trip yesterday to the Isle of Palms outside of Charleston. We hadn't been to the beach in over 2 years and felt it was time. We got the animals fed and watered early and took off.

Even though it was warm (high 70's on the beach) we figured it would be pretty empty-the way we like it. Unfortunately, it wasn't. But we had fun anyway.

On the way home, one of our tires de-treadded. It was practically new. It's the 2nd tire that has failed us since we got the tires in July of this year (the first failed, but it could have hit something. This time, however, the tread actually peeled off the tire and wrapped around the axle; it didn't go flat. They weren't new, but were practically new 'used' tires-full of tread. Apparently they weren't so good.

The tire failed going 70 mph with an 18-wheeler climbing our tail. We were lucky (blessed that is) to escape safely.

The 'adventure' of a day at the beach didn't quite end there. I got what looked to be a mild sunburn on my legs, but this morning when I awoke, I couldn't walk. My legs were swollen and ached. The sunburn still looked mild, but boy was I hurt'n. After a course of Ibuprofen, I am doing a little better-getting around with a cane.

All's well that end's well.

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, October 05, 2009


Thanks be to God!

Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, October 03, 2009


Yesterday we harvested our 1/4 - 1/2 acre or so of peanuts. (Sorry we forgot to take pictures). The land was loaned to us. We planted, cultivated, weeded, and harvested. It was a total family effort.

Traditionally, after the peanuts are harvested, the whole plant is hung on poles with the peanuts hidden by the foliage for several weeks to dry. The nuts need to be sheltered from the sunlight or they will turn brown. We are hanging the peanut plants from the rafters in my shop and the small barn. This makes almost everything in there most inaccessible.

It took all day to pull, bundle and hang.

In the South, boiled peanuts are popular. You boil peanuts in salt water from some 9 hours. However, if you have green peanuts (those just harvested) it only takes about 4 hours.

I'm not crazy about boiled peanuts, but some of the boys are, so we may try our hand at some.

The lack of rain really cut the yield of nuts-probably by about 50%. But we still have a lot. The back of my pickup was overflowing with the bundles.

And the hay from the peanuts is almost as valuable as the nuts. The hay is especially nutritious for cows or hogs.

Oremus pro invicem!