Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I have one!

I was reading the chapter entitled The Family by Rev. Vincent McNabb OP, STM in Flee to the Fields (IHS Press). Here Fr. McNabb is quoting a report from the Sub-committee of the Inter-Departmental Committee of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Board of Education, 1928 (England):

They (women) are in a position to be either a drag on, or a spur to agricultural development.

Attention may be drawn to the women's part in the rural exodus.... There is no doubt that a most potent factor in driving the men city-wards has been the discontent of women. .....

Smallholders ... are largely dependent on the assistance of wives and daughters for the working of the holding as well as of the house.

So, what do I have? A good woman who is a "spur to the agricultural development" on our small holding. My woman lives a hard live without all the comforts we could have, but she sees the fruits and appreciates them like many women would not.

God bless her! And praise God for the gift He has given me and our children!

Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, November 22, 2010

A chance encounter

Saturday I happened to run into Reid Buckley at the feed store. We had met only once before, more than a year previous at the same feed store, but he remembered me. I greeted him with the standard “How are you?”. He responded with the more provocative and much more meaningful: “Have you done anything good today?” Caught off guard, (and not known to be quick on my feet) I offered some kind of lame response.

In our short discussion, Mr. Buckley mentioned his new book (due out today on amazon) The Idiocy of Assent and a recent interview he had given about the book. I checked it out and clip these comments of his, which are very much of my own heart. (Bold is my emphasis of what I believe is the most important statement in the interview.)

We have to find out some way to reduce the size of the government without actually attacking any of its agencies. I think the way to do that is to emphasize the policy of subsidiarity. That no public agency should do what a private agency could do better, and that no larger public agency should do what a smaller public agency could do better. That’s the principle of federalism and that’s what, I think, we have to get to.

If we want to have a Department of Energy, this should be through the states, not through the federal government.

The way to do it is to start from the premise that the indispensable social unit in any republic has to be the family and that the family has to be made responsible for its members. In other words, sons and daughters should be responsible for their aging parents. Their parents should be responsible for their sons and daughters.

If any member of that family becomes ill, the other members of that family should be the first people to respond, not the federal government, not even the state.

If someone happens to be so unfortunate as to be completely alone, then we should rely on the church, the community hall, the county, and then — only then — move onto the state in cases of total neglect.

And later …

People who are raised in urban circumstances have very little appreciation of natural beauty. Their aesthetic sense is largely blunted by their upbringing.

There was an example of children raised in New York city, many of whom didn’t know where milk came from and had never seen a live chicken. I think these were serious problems.

Read more: here

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, November 19, 2010

This morning we dressed out our Thanksgiving turkey. The boys are betting it's over 40 lbs (dressed), and I concur. One thing you should know if you do your own poultry, and that is to refrigerate them for at least two days before freezing or cooking. It ages/tenderizes the meat.

Mrs. Curley and the kids have been making ice cream this week. Boy the homemade stuff is good. Last night it was mint chocolate chip. A few days ago it was French Vanilla.

Oremus pro invicem!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Monday, Harry had her 3rd litter, this time 13 piglets. Although she has a lot of Yorkshire in her, all her piglets look like their Hampshire daddy. Harry is known to hop fences (in fact she hopped one on Saturday in front of guests). Her piglets have always been escape artists also. I'll never forget the time I arrived home and went to check on her 2-week old litter and found them all gone. After some frantic calling, they emerged from the woods, and one by one ran across the road, through another dry lot and into their own pen.

We had our first fall square dance on Saturday just past. A wonderful gathering with 1/2 hog on the grill and families from our current parish and old parishes. A few people stayed to sing around the bonfire in the evening. Mrs. Curley and I danced the Virginia Reel, and it was a wonderful time.

Since coming 'back to the land', I have read many books about practical skills and livestock. In the years preceding our move, I read some more philisophical books on the Catholic back-to-the-land movement: Flee to the Fields (IHS press) and The Rural Solution (Traditionalist Press, Ireland) to name two.

It is good to revisit these books now; at least one, to see if the reasons given have proven valid for our family. If I can carve out the time, I may review these books, or parts thereof, and add my own two cents based on our experiences.

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

So, what’s going on? Fall has finally hit. We were very late in planting the fall/winter garden, but because of the continued heat, maybe we didn’t lose much. Turnips are up and the broccoli is in the ground. The Swiss chard, of which we planted and replanted, has not yet made an appearance. We have almost finished separating the peanuts from the hay. Last year the peanut hay itself was more valuable than the peanut crop. This year we harvested late and much of the hay dried in the field. I am not sure it will be as valuable this year.

I love the change in weather, late as it came this year. As my neighbor commented to me, “It’s time to slaughter a hog.” Indeed it is. We’ve already done two this fall, another slated for this week, and a bunch more come December and January.

Feed prices have been going up and up. For the pigs, I can pass this increased cost onto buyers. However, this doesn’t help us with the chicken and cow feed.

We have a litter of pigs ready to wean in a few weeks. Most are looking good. One was injured in his first week and while he still lives and is active, his growth is very stunted. He wasn’t a runt when born, but is now. We will probably keep him on the sow for a bit longer than the pigs we are selling.

Our sow Harry (short for Harry) is due this coming Friday.

I have been desperate to find a Jersey bull to breed back my Jersey, breed my Jersey heifer and soon to breed my Brown Swiss. We had the Jersey AI’d twice, but it didn’t take, thus the need to find a bull. She has been a trooper, still giving 3 gallons a day even 18 months after freshening. But all this good milk will end. Monday evening I went West to look at a Jersey bull. He looked good, but a bit younger than I wanted…. But the price was right. He arrives before week’s end.

For the first time in many, many years we celebrated All Saints Day alone. We went to Mass in Camden (not our regular parish) as they had noon Mass which fit our schedule better. After coming home, we all got costumed and told the stories of our chosen saints. I portrayed John Kemble (possibly remembered more for the expression of “having a Kemble smoke/pipe” – the last pipe of a sitting, and for him, his last before execution, than for he being the oldest of the English and Welsh martyrs). We also had a Margaret Ward, and others.

Now, the commercial interruption: We have some great deals at Requiem Press. Traffic at the new website is practically nil, but remember us when looking for gifts in the next couple months. Thank-you.

I usually never miss posting on All Soul’s Day, but computer time, especially ‘recreation computer time’ has been hard to come by (not necessarily a bad thing). However, as a reminder, go to a cemetery and pray for the Holy Souls. You can earn a plenary indulgence (under the usual conditions) for a suffering soul on the 2nd and during the 8 thereafter.

Today we prayed the Office of the Dead as this is the 11th anniversary of my father’s passing-may his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.

Oremus pro invicem!