Monday, March 29, 2010

It was during Holy Week six years ago that I discerned what I thought was a call to start Requiem Press. As we begin Holy Week six years hence, I announce that Requiem Press will be closing its doors over the next few months. It was a good run and I learned a lot and met some fantastic people.

We will be selling out inventory (if possible). The website is still up, but things will be changing as we go through this process.

You know, I thought my books would help change the world-bringing people back to Christ-perhaps a few did, but I learned (once again) that I need to be more like the potter's clay, letting Christ make the model and just be His tool-not trying to do it all by myself.

I hope we can still sell some books, cause there are bills to pay.

More on this later.

I have a couple other good stories up my sleeve, but they will have to wait until we get past this holy season.

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Last week I returned to my old Men's Prayer Group at my former parish after some 5 years absence. We pray the Liturgy of the Hours, discuss something (scripture, the sacraments, etc.) and then go to Mass. I think I'll try to make it from now on when I am in the city. It is very valuable for men to pray together. I have missed it unknowingly.


We finally made some peanut butter from our fall harvest. I also made some 'diabetic' peanut butter. Both seem to be hits. We have a bunch more to make. We haven't decided whether to plant peanuts again - it may depend on whether the land made available to us again. The peanut hay proved very valuable as a supplement for our cows (still getting almost 4 gallons a day from Mabel). In truth, besides some peanut brittle at Christmas, we haven't really used the peanuts as much as the hay. But this is changing.


Our litter of 13 piglets is coming along very nicely. I will start weaning them in another week or so. I think we are going to hold a few of these back to sell as bbq pigs around July 4th. But we'll see.

In the meantime, we have litters due April 15th, April 18th, and May 17th. We have a gamecock hen setting on a clutch of eggs in one of our farrowing houses. Fortunately, those eggs should hatch a few days before I need to move a sow into the farrowing house.

I mentioned we are raising some Cornish/Rock broilers .... but in the meantime, we had eaten one of the gamecocks hatched in October. Boy, now that was a delicious chicken-maybe the best I've ever had. Methinks that I won't do C/R broilers again. We are going to build our gamecock flock.

I looked yesterday and some radishes, swiss chard, and peas are poking their heads out of the ground. I spread some more manure yesterday and tilled some more garden plot.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Instead of writing a new post, I will post a link to my best previous post on St. Patrick's Day: 2007 St. Patrick's Day post

In the mail today came a request from the Mary Mother of God Mission Society -Reviving the Catholic Church in Eastern Russia. I have scanned it and reproduced it below. I have met one of the priest (an American) who has served in Vladivostok since 1991 and can recommend him and his work without question.

Unfortunately, I don't have the money to add my support to this worthy mission at this time-so I bring it to your attention. ( )

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, March 12, 2010

So, we planted peas, Kohl Rabi, Swiss chard, broccoli, lettuce, strawberries, radishes, beets, carrots, and onions this week. A good start, but we have more peas and Swiss chard to put in. Most of these will be done in May/early June, so we can plant some other stuff then. And of course we have other garden areas to plant, which won't be ready til April.


Went to the Kershaw County Friends of the Library sale today. It always happens when we're broke, but we manage to scrape together what ever we need. Mrs. Curley found a Sheed & Ward book circa 1955 enticingly titled: Catholicism Protestantism and Capitalism by Anmintore Fanfani. Here's the blurb from the jacket (I am too lazy to retype it, but please do read it):

I also picked up The Lore of the Land by John Seymour with original illustrations by Sally Seymour. Finally, I picked up a book: Producing Your Own Power. This has two chapters on generating power from bio mass (Methane gas from manure.) This is of great interest. Our dairy cow and her heifer generate many pounds of manure each day. This winter you could see the heat coming off the manure piles. We need to harness this somehow. I'll keep you all up to date on my research.


And we unexpectedly had time and caught the noon Mass in Camden. We really weren't dressed for it, but I figured it was better to go to Mass dressed down for a change, than not to go at all.


We have Cornish-Rock broilers in our brooder. They came last week a day late and we lost 3/4 of them (the hatchery will replace our loss). Six weeks from now we should have chickens to sell (and some for our own freezer.)

Piglets are 5 weeks old this weekend. We have 2 litters due in mid-April and one in mid-May.

Tomorrow we will all be here for a change (the older boys have been in great demand as workers around the town), and if the weather holds up, we need to get some pens made, till some ground, build a new chicken house, and much much more.

We've moved our Lady of Fatima shrine and the girls will be planting flowers. I am looking for a site for an Infant of Prague shrine at the back of the property.

Lots of work, lots of joy.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Over the years we have met, corresponded with, read about, etc people who yearn for a Catholic community of 'like-minded' folks. You would hope that being Catholic and 'like-minded' were synonymous and that a local parish community would fit the bill. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The Catholic Church in America (and very likely other places as well) has seen great upheaval in these past decades, with theological and philosophical factions, scandals, and the like. We can lay blame at numerous doorsteps, but I don't have time (and possibly not the knowledge) to cover them all.

Thus many (and this is particularly desired among agrarian-leaning Catholics, but not limited to this group) want to find/form/join a community of "like-minded" folks. However, the definition of 'like-minded' itself is often the downfall of such planned communities. Philosophical attitudes often arise from the culture one is raised in. And thus when you put together Northeasterners, Southerners, people of Anglo descent, Eastern European descent, Mediterranean descent, 1st generation Americans, 5th generation Americans, ...., middle-class descent, children of poverty, etc. (you get the picture) AND then you add in (even among faithful Catholics) Vatican II, Latin, Novus Ordo, etc. you have a cauldron ready to boil.

(Not to be nostalgic but) In past times more people were born, raised, married, raised a family and died in the same parish surrounded by family and extended family. The importance of this stability can not be ignored. (Of course the industrial revolution and centralization of power has helped destroy the overwhelmingly agrarian culture.) These folks shared faith, family and culture. All three have been damaged. Let's leave aside faith for a moment.

The melting of ethnic cultures over several generations produces no culture. What has taken the place of traditional culture is the Protestant/now secular culture that is America. This has been facilitated by wealth, but even more so by mobility-which may in part be because of the seeking of wealth, or the American dream.

It is funny that many today (and I speak specifically of those seeking 'community') want natural foods, but seek an unnatural community. For true community is based on the family and then the extended family, created by the intermarriage of local families who share faith and geographic and ethnic culture who remain in the community to make it grow.

If I want a Catholic community in Bethune, SC of like-minded folks, it will happen if my children stay in (or return to) Bethune with their families and bring their talents to bear in this community-and their children do the same.

Rural communities have suffered because the younger generation has left. But you can still see the remnants of community in most rural areas stronger than other places because few people move into dying rural towns-thus the people left have roots there.

And who am I to preach stability? My wife and I left the communities of our youth to seek a better job-the American dream. Now being wiser (but poorer) we can only hope that our children see the folly of mobility. (This is not to say that we are unhappy where we are; this is a wonderful area, just lacking a nearby Catholic Church. But we also realize that more geographic stability would benefit our country. See the web magazine Front Porch Republic for more on this topic.)

That is not to say everyone must follow the same cookie cutter. However, the majority would do better staying local. When we send our children off to college (a whole other can of worms), it should be so that they come back to our community with new knowledge and skills.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Snapped a few pics today. First is the new litter 3.5 weeks old, trying to steal mom's food.

Next is Tarzan (our boar) and Cordelia, a Hampshire gilt we hope will be bred soon.

Finally is Big Red, a Duroc/Tamworth gilt. She is bred and due end of May.

Off to the Stations of the Cross.

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, March 01, 2010

From the Small Holding ...

From Practical Farming for the South by B.F. Bullock 1946, from the introduction to the section on Field Crops, in which Professor Bullock argues against the common practice then (and even today) of planting and specializing in only a few "cash crops":

The southern farmer must be convinced that his farm is a better place on which to live than it is on which to make a living. ... American farms were once made to produce almost all the basic needs for a happy and prosperous life, and they must be made to do so again if the true spirit of American freedom is to survive.

We've been doing much planning for our current year of planting. Last year we put in our peas and onions by this time. But it has been colder than usual. We did till some garden areas this weekend, but with snow on the menu for Wednesday morning, I think we have a few more weeks.

We moved our heifer calf last week and will be planting our early crops (peas and onions) on her old pen. We will be planting on the pen we raised turkeys on last year and are extending the garden in the front. (I think and aerial plot is called for. I will work on it for the next post.)

In our main garden area, we are planting entirely in corn. We are going to let some hogs harvest it, one section at a time, moving the fencing. I hope this works out. As each section is hogged down, we will come back immediately with greens. We are pretty excited with all the extended garden area.

Big Spot still has 13 piglets thriving at 3 weeks old. They just started to steal their mom's food. I need to cut the males this week. I will wean in another 4-5 weeks. We have 2 more litters due in mid April, one towards the end of May, and hopefully one in June/July-but the last is too early to predict yet.

Mrs. Curley and the girls are making a new area/grotto for Our Lady of Fatima 'shrine'. They got quite a lot done on Saturday. Now they just have to plant the flowers.

I am looking for a good spot to create a shrine for the Infant of Prague image we have. I owe it to Him.

Sorry for the long absence, but get used to it as the busy arrives. (Oh yes, we have 100 day-old chicks coming this week-Cornish/rock broilers.)

Oremus pro invicem!