Month: December 2016



Well, good riddance to 2016. After 2009 (the year my Dad died), it’s hands-down the worst year of my life. But on the bright side: It’s over . . . and I survived. I’m grateful that the hurdles presented this year are the worst I’ve faced so far.

I’ll be celebrating 2016’s conclusion with a handful of drinks and lots of college football. I’m rooting for Washington and OSU tonight.

I wish I had some good BYCU material today, but I don’t. I will, however, pass along The Catholic Herald’s Best Films of 2016 list. There are some obscure ones in there. Have a few drinks and binge out.… Read the rest


We harvested this from the cold frames on December 26th. This will get us through the end of the year. So with the exception of a 10-day span in early August and mid-December, the garden provided all our greens from April 1st through December 31st, plus a handful in March.

spinachRead the rest


From the Notebooks

The Russian has always loved the Earth, venerating her black depths, the crops that spring from her lungs, and the resting home she gives at death. She’s the Russian’s embodiment of kindness and mercy in a land that has seen too much of these virtues’ antitheses. The Russian’s devotion to Mother Earth is so strong that the phrase “Cult of Mother Earth” is used to describe its fervor.

The Cult and Father Zossima

The fervor is beautifully illustrated in Dostoyevsky’s Father Zossima, the Starets of Alyosha Karamazov’s monastery in The Brothers Karamazov. Father Zossima was graphic in his love for Mother Earth. He urged his disciples to prostrate themselves on the earth, to kiss it tirelessly, to love it insatiably, to water it with tears of joy.

Fr. Zossima strongly felt the foundational assumption underlying the Cult of Mother Earth: There exists an unbreakable bond between the divine world, man, and creation. This bond creates an intimate link between each person and other creatures, as illustrated by Fr. Zossima in this anecdote:

A dying youth asked the birds to forgive him. That may sound absurd, but when you think of it, it makes sense. For everything is like the ocean, all things flow and are indirectly linked together, and if you push here, something will move at the other end of the world. . . Understand that everything is like the ocean. Then, consumed by eternal love, you will pray to the birds, too. In a state of fervor you will pray to them to forgive you your sins.

This unbreakable bond, Fr. Zossima taught, makes every man responsible for every man: … Read the rest


Miscellaneous Rambling

Ceiling. TrastevereOne of my children asked me, half-jokingly, if it’s okay to pray while they go to the bathroom. I responded with the Buddhist anecdote about the two monks who liked to smoke. They wondered if they could smoke and pray at the same time. They went back and asked their respective masters. One master said “no,” the other master said “yes.” The monk who was told “no” said, “I asked him if it’s okay to smoke while I pray.” The other monk said, “Oh, I asked if it’s okay to pray while I smoke.”

Ceiling. TrastevereCracked me up: “So sorry to hear about your mom’s skydiving accident.”

Ceiling. TrastevereThis Forbes article says that 2017 is going to see the “on demand” market culture gain steam. That’s one of the marketing features of Max’s urban farm: Grow to order, order to your door. I’m hoping the farm will appeal to busy people who want organic, non-gmo greens delivered to their door monthly, weekly, bi-weekly, or twice a week. Max will peddle it there.

Amazon Deals of the DayRead the rest


misc-rambling-picMiscellaneous Rambling

Ceiling. Trastevere“The shepherd cannot run at the first sign of danger. Pray for us that we may be a sign of the love of Christ for our people, that our presence among them will fortify them to endure these sufferings in preparation for the coming of the Kingdom.” Padre Francisco. Modern martyr (died 1981). You can read his story here.

Ceiling. TrastevereMy mom got me the 2017 Old Farmer’s Almanac for Christmas. It says “People are talking about . . . urban farming.” Which is good because Marie got me The Urban Farmer: Growing Food for Profit on Leased and Borrowed Land for Christmas. Max (13) appears to have an entrepreneurial streak a mile wide and enjoys helping in the garden. I asked him back in November, while we were putting the garden away for winter, whether he’d like to start a small business from the garden. He was “all in.” So preparations have begun. Potential markets have been approached, one or more lots are in the process of being acquired, I’ve contacted a young artisan to build me a hoop house, a simple website is in development. I’m loathe to convert a tax-free endeavor (gardening) into a taxable one (farming), but I’m interested in this whole urban farming movement, I believe in the goodness of locally-grown organic food, and I really want to encourage Max. We’ll see where it goes. And no, I won’t be giving up my day job any time soon.

Ceiling. TrastevereWell, add one more Netfix series that I want to watch: Medicis: Masters of Florence. The erudite Jeffery Tucker endorses it and says that, though it’s a bit light on … Read the rest

The 26th

Whew. I survived another Christmas. They’re the best of the times; they’re the worst most tiring of times.

It seems to be getting better, though. I actually made it to my mom’s yesterday at 5:00 without staring in full zombie mode. Marie and I were in bed by 11:30, got up at 7:00, took a nap in the afternoon . . . basically, doubling the amount of sleep I got when the kids were little. Far preferable state of affairs.

And I really dig Christmas on Sunday. I really dislike getting to bed late on Christmas night, then getting up the next morning and going to the office. Granted, I normally take leave on the 26th, but that doesn’t mean client matters don’t come up that need to be addressed. But when Christmas is on Sunday and it’s a national banking holiday? No one expects you to be at the office.

Oh well. That’s it for today. It’s still the holiday, as far as I’m concerned. Expect light blogging the duration of the Christmas season.

Ongoing happy holidays to everyone.

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