Thursday, October 31, 2013


I guess it is appropriate that I read the Grisham novel Calico Joe during the baseball playoff season. I used to love watching baseball on TV, listening on the radio, and especially going to watch the minor league team in Columbia, SC when they had one. Pretty good book, made better by references to players from the early 70's when I was collecting cards.

I didn't watch any of the World Series even though I am from Boston originally. I am guess I am glad Boston won, but I have no connection, know none of the players and have become pretty ambivalent.
In any event, we don't get TV reception, satellite or cable. Regardless, I stopped watching pro sports on TV years ago when the ads became so offensive-especially advertising prime time shows.
I was too young to remember the 1967 Series between Boston and St. Louis, but I wasn't too young to remember people talking about it in the next few years. I had a Bob Gibson card and two Lou Brock cards. Lou Brock became my favorite player over the years. And though I seldom saw him play, being in an American League town, I checked the box scores everyday to see how he did. But the baseball cards I really wanted but never got were Yaz and Jim Lonborg. Oh well.
Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, October 28, 2013


So while Mrs. Curley and the girls are having fun in the sun in Florida, I heard from Nick at Wyoming Catholic and he informs me that it is snowing; they expect 30 inches!
Mrs. Curley didn't leave me any food to simply "heat up" for suppers while she was gone, so we were on our own. I decided to empty the freezer of some foods Mrs. Curley wasn't too keen on using. So here are some of the things we've been having:
Thursday Supper: macaroni and cheese with spinach greens and pork sausage mixed in. This particular sausage was my own recipe and I inadvertently added too much salt. So while not so good eaten by itself, it is an excellent choice mixed with pasta.
Friday Supper: Meatless, so Dad's "famous" tunafish salad. Tuna fish mixed with chopped hard-boiled egg, mayo, and poultry seasoning-served cold. Green beans (served hot) on the side.
Saturday Supper: breaded, chopped and fried boar "fries" (for want of a better term), mixed with rotini, cheese, and milk. Bake in oven for 30 minutes. Baked okra on the side. (Probably the best supper of the week.)
Sunday- had a heavy meal at a friends house in the afternoon, so we simply snacked at supper time.
Monday Supper: duck meat (boiled off a baked whole duck from sometime in the past) mixed with rice, leftover green beans, leftover baked okra, and parmesan cheese. Add a cup of milk, top with saltine crackers and bake in oven for 30 minutes.
I am not sure what is in store for tomorrow. More foraging in the deep freeze and I am sure I will come up with something!

Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Missing her...

My darling has gone to Florida to visit her Nana and taken the girls with her. Us boys have been managing, but boy am I tired. Sometimes I take a nap just before supper, but not today when I am both cooking and processing milk. Anyway, we have been working hard cutting wood, finishing the masonry work around the woodstove (just in time), harvesting, fixing cars, moving hogs, etc.


Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Constancy in Love

The latest installment in my series The Ways of God for Fathers .... an excerpt:
In every family there are there are three primary relationships for the father. In descending order of importance: the first is the father with God; the second is the father with the mother; the third is the father with his children.
Constancy in love: Dad must pray every day-on his own and with his family. Dad must love God and show this love in his actions and priorities. The children must know Dad’s first love and relationship is with God. Now this doesn’t mean he neglects his vocation as husband and father to spend 5 hours a day praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Our vocation is as father. We may be called to be contemplative in the world-but in the world, not in a monastery. We aren’t called to live as monks.

Read the rest here.

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Foreknowledge ....

One of my upcoming installments of The Ways of God for Fathers (at ) is about God's foreknowledge and how we can imitate this attribute as fathers.

So it is appropriate that I came across this eulogy Dr. Cuddeback wrote for is father recently.

When I close my eyes and think of my father, many thoughts come to mind. But the first is of his providence, his wise and loving care. He was always fore-seeing. Scanning the horizon, especially the horizons of those he loved, he would strain to see what was coming. One of the hardest aspects of being a man is not-knowing: not knowing what comes next, and thus not knowing how to prepare for it. Decisions need to be made in the present, with a measuring eye on the future and a remembering eye on the past. How often did I see Dad’s rational powers churning, sizing up situations—even those ostensibly unrelated to his own—and discerning how to arrange things for the good of those around him.

Then he proceeds to give some examples. Read the whole thing here.

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Next installment of my series on CatholiclLane . Here's an short excerpt:

Thomas Aquinas writes:
In God there is a primary perfection, which is that He never changes His nature. … Let us strive therefore to acquire a stability of spirit…

Ah, how suddenly we pass from good to bad, from hope to groundless fear, and from fear to hope, from joy to unreasonable grief, and from sadness to vain joy, from silence to loquaciousness, from gravity to trifling, from charity to rancor or to envy, from fervor to tepidity, from humility to vainglory or to pride, from gentleness to anger, and from joy and spiritual love to carnal love and pleasure.

In this way we never remain one single instant in the same condition, unless, alas we are constant in inconstancy…..

Not a pretty picture, but pretty true for a lot of us. So let’s examine our constancy as it applies to our vocation as father. (Let us not forget that a whole book could be written with the same outline for our vocation as husband.)

Where do we especially need a stability of spirit as fathers? Well, two areas seem to leap out at us immediately: discipline and love.

Read the rest here

Oremus pro invicem!

Thursday, October 17, 2013


alopecia-loss of hair, baldness. Origins in a Greek word meaning mange in foxes.

So my daughter has a new nickname for me: the mangy fox!

Oremus pro invicem!

Where I start a new blog dedicated to my published writings. Enjoy! Here's the link: Jim Curley

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

This past weekend we had a square dance and roasted a hog out here on the Curley homestead. My daughter took a bunch of pictures of the hog slaughter process for the book I am working on (hope to be available late in fall or early winter) on how to slaughter and butcher a hog. Here is a sample of some of the pictures she took.

The first picture was taken actually after the bullet was fired. The hog was standing up for the shot, but you can see here that the back legs are down.

Stunning the hog
Scalding the hog in a barrel of heated water (165 F) before scraping the hair off.

Some of the hair was stubborn, so we singed off the rest.

After evisceration, my son Matthew saws the carcass in half.
Oremus pro invicem!

"we need more people on the land"

There is a lot of good ideas over at . While I am not sure I agree with everything Mr. Peters says in this piece, still there is some good stuff here. Here's an excerpt from Jason Peters' post:

Consider some grim statistics. In 1930 there were over thirty million farmers in this country and 6.2 million farms. By 1950 there were still twenty-five million farmers on 5.3 million farms. But then the post-war mischief set in, and the government turned against its farmers. By the turn of the century there were fewer than three million farmers on 2.1 million farms. The difference between 1930 and 2000 is a reduction of five farmers to slightly more than one farmer per farm—which is to say, far fewer eyes observing fertility losses on much larger farms. And today, for every one farmer and rancher under the age of 25, there are five who are 75 or older.


One, we need more people on the land. We need a better eyes-to-acre ratio. ... we need young people in local and regional governments who are liberally educated, which means they are familiar with, among other things, the philosophical and political theories that led to our current living arrangements. It also means they must be trained in both physical and cultural geography, urban planning, farming, gardening, environmental studies, and the courses in English and American literature that I teach.

And then from the comment box of this article, an idea close to my heart:

While Deep Springs is a two-year nontraditional college built around an operating ranch out in the desert, I find myself wondering if it might be worth founding and funding small two year post-10th Grade Institutes in varied contexts (urban, rural, seaside, mountains, plains) along the Deep Springs model in various parts of the USA to train “…young people in …the philosophical and political theories that led to our current living arrangements…physical and cultural geography, urban planning, farming, gardening, environmental studies, [as well as] courses in English and American literature…” and applied technology, health and nutrition, and rudimentary business skills added in? - See more at:
Interesting about Deep Springs, I never heard of it, but it is an all-male school. Unfortunately the Board of Trustees are trying to break the trust and go co-ed. But that is an aside. I think there is a need for schools which educate the whole man, but which also encourage traditional rural living.
Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, October 11, 2013

So I think I pinched a nerve which makes my left arm and shoulder hurt a few weeks ago. Not one to let a little pain get in the way, I have kept working with it until this past weekend when it became a big pain. Now I am pretty much useless around here. Although I haven't seen the doctor, I believe the best prescription is rest.
This is why any readers out there have seen more posts from me during October this year than any month since March 2012 (well, except last month.) I have started to revive my "writing career"-that one that doesn't pay any money-although I did have a paying article published in a homesteading magazine last year.
The whole point of this is to alert you all to a new series of mine which begins today on and which will continue every Friday for the next few weeks. The series is about being a father. Some of the articles in some form or another first appeared on this blog.
I certainly don't claim any particular expertise on fatherhood. In fact these reflections are actually my own meditations on what I need to do to become a better father-at least at the time they were written. So enjoy, if you can and give me some feedback.
Here's a quote from today's installment:
St. Thomas Aquinas notes (in The Ways of God) that we should “model ourselves” on our Creator in his attributes and imitate Christ in His actions.
- Read the whole thing at:
Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Several months ago a woman who had just won the lottery was interviewed. Here’s the comment (not an exact quote) I remember:

“Now that I have won the lottery I can afford to put my kids in daycare and get a job.”

Last week a government worker was interviewed just after the government shutdown started. He was asked his biggest concern. Here’s what I remember (not an exact quote):

“I don’t know what I am going to do. The kid still has to go to daycare. How can I afford to pay for that?”

So there you have it: daycare at all costs. Rich? Send your kids to daycare. Out of a job? Send your kids to daycare. Daycare must go on!

Monday, October 07, 2013


Here's a few pictures from our sorghum harvest and cooking. Sorry I forgot to take any pressing the stocks which was done up the road. A local farmer who grows sugar cane lent us the use of his cane press for the morning.

 Collecting the stocks - no that's not me. We had some friends over to help.

 Taking the seeds off the stocks to feed to the chickens and turkeys.

 More de-seeding. After pressing the stocks go to the milk cow who absolutely loves them. In fact, her output has gone up 2 quarts a day since we started feeding the stocks.

 Cooking the sorghum. You get about 1 gallon of syrup per 8-10 gallons of juice. This is early stage cooking. It took about 3-4 hours to cook it down.

The finished product. Not as much as we hoped, but learned a lot and if we do it again, I am sure we can get 5-10 times the output on about 1/4 the plot of land. And boy is it good, especially on hot biscuits!

Oremus pro invicem!

Raising Good Children

This quote is from a post today by Rod Dreher. He is discussing fundamentalism of various types. So the quote is a bit out of context for my purposes, but this is often what I have observed.

“These yuppies want to have good kids,” I told my wife. “But they are terrified of being like people who actually do what it takes to raise good kids.”

Many people want to raise good kids, but it is not simply a time (or resource) commitment. It is in a sense a religious commitment. You need to pray with and for your kids. You need to pick your friends carefully as well as being careful about the kids your kids spend time with. You need to be willing to let much of the current culture behind. What you do, what you watch, what you listen to, and who your friends are will influence all this in your children.  Tough choices in what you do and what your children do, and where they school.
It is a challenge and sacrifice. Take homeschooling. This is a sacrificial and daunting endeavor, not for the faint-hearted. But it can be done well, even for those not confident at first. I am amazed and gratified that my Mrs. Curley has embraced and dedicated the last 16 years of her life to schooling our children, even though both she (and I) had many doubts and fears initially. (People who know us today have no understanding of the level of fear and doubt we had in the beginning.)
That is not to say homeschooling is the only way to go-but if another option doesn't exist, it may be necessary in today's environment.
Raising good children depends on discipline: disciplining yourself and your children-albeit often in different ways.
Raising good children is hard (may be impossible) to do in a isolation. Finding other families who are willing to make the same hard choices, who believe in God - not just in their words, but in their actions, decisions, and commitment is as important. Both children and parents need the moral, spiritual, and fellowship support of others who share their goals.
Reflecting once again on these challenges, I am again humbled and realize my need for prayer: yours and mine.
Oremus pro invicem!

Sunday, October 06, 2013

What to think

I still haven't quite decided what to think of some of the recent papal interviews. There is a problem if every time Pope Francis gives an interview there has to be multiple disclaimers about interpretations and explanations from multiple Catholic columnists who support the pope. At the same time, you also get the feeling that other Catholics are laying in wait to criticize, ready to accept the most problematic interpretation, even if evidence proposes otherwise.

I am not worried about the secular media take. They operate both with ignorance and their own agenda. They lay in wait to take snippets out of context to suit their own purposes and always have.

My tendency is to give the benefit of the doubt to Pope Francis - after all, I am merely a poor sinner, husband and father whose vocation is not the pope's vocation, nor as papal advisor. In all this, I am reminded that I still need to remove the log from my own eye ... but still, it all can be confusing.

After reading all sorts of commentaries on these issues, I believe Carl Olson's current editorial on Catholic World Report most closely reflects my current thoughts.

Here's the link:

Prayer for Pope Francis, the Church, and for each other is the most efficacious and what we are certainly called to do.

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, October 04, 2013

Club of Queer Trades

More Chesterton fiction. I love it. I think I should become a professional detainer. I might be good at it.

It is funny how confused things can be in your head when you are young, and how it can carry over. We used Crest toothpaste growing up, always. I thought Colgate toothpaste was either immoral or just plain not for good Catholics. Likewise, since we didn't ever eat pizza growing up, I thought there was something intrinsically wrong with it. I am sure my dear mother would be appalled at these awkward opinions I held in my early youth. Of course I grew out of these foolish notions, but it was still a shock to find out that my future wife used Colgate AND her favorite food was pizza. I wasn't sure for a moment that this whole thing would work out. But only for a moment. Things have been great.

Oremus pro invicem!