A Big Move

We moved.

We sold our 3-bedroom, 1.5 bathroom, 1900 square foot house and bought a 2-bedroom, 1 bathroom, 970 square foot house with not a level floor in the house. This cut our monthly mortgage payments essentially in half, and provided us with the cash to buy a 22 year old Astro van with less that 90,000 miles to replace our 15 year old Impala with 370,000 miles. The van is AWD, and unlike the Impala, can continue to accommodate our family if we have another child–in fact, it can accommodate 2 more children!

The move new place has its drawbacks and benefits. I’m working on remedying the worst of the drawbacks as I can. One benefit is that we now have roughly 3x the land as the old place–1.2 acres as opposed to 0.4 acres. This means more room for gardens, and we’re still trying to determine where to locate them. Another benefit is that we now have river frontage on a small river, which opens up opportunities to catch fish in our own backyard. An additional benefit is that I am now less than 30 minutes from one of the properties where I deer hunt.

The main benefit, of course, is the lower payments. At our previous place, our minimum payments were about half my monthly income. While were able to keep up with it for quite a while, with each child it got harder, and after Helen was born we began to accumulate credit card debit (which is now gone). This is the opposite of what we want. We want to live inexpensively, save a little, and have money available for charitable giving.

We also found that having such a large house allowed us to accumulate a lot of stuff that we didn’t need or use. It wasn’t that long ago that I moved myself and all of my possessions from Virginia to Florida in a Ford Ranger, but this move required a 26 foot long U-Haul truck. We are continuing to work on paring down the number of things we own, while also working to replace low quality things with high quality ones, and single function items with multi-function items where reasonable.

Its a work in progress, and the past few months have been incredibly busy. But hopefully this move will create more time (in that I won’t feel the need to work as much overtime), and I’ll try to post project and purchase updates as we continue to settle in.

Roads are Sexist!

Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up:

In the case of Romania, for example, the building of a major road through the country without conducting a gender-analysis, bore the consequence of marginalising [sic] certain trading patterns in the country that had a disproportionately negative impact on women over men.


Your Actions Reveal Your Priorities

Its a phrase I’ve said over and over again to my wife, starting before we were married. For example, right now I could be doing any number of other things instead of writing here. The fact that I am not shows that this blog is a higher priority to me right now than those other things–even if I might claim otherwise. Its a truism, but one that often bears being repeated.

When I read the following paragraph at the end of Cane Caldo’s most recent post, I considered the first phrase to be a similar truism:

Most of us are or will be married to former whores; like Hosea except that most of us weren’t any better. So don’t miss Hosea’s lessons because of silly sentiments.

Clearly, some other readers did not believe it to be a truism: Lexet Blog expressed doubt over whether there even is such a thing as a “former whore,” and Jack expressed a similar sentiment.

This post is not to argue with them, although I certainly believe there is such a thing as a former whore. To me, the life of St. Mary of Egypt is more than enough to establish that. No, this post is about something else that came to my mind as I read the post and comments–something that really doesn’t even have to do with whores.

I thought of the many young (and no longer young) men who have told me that one of their top priorities in life is to marry and have a family, and have also shared with me their extremely high standards in who they would consider as a prospective wife while lamenting the scarcity of candidates that meet those standards.

Now, before you write me off as telling young men to “man up and marry those sluts,” let me be clear. I’m not telling anyone to get married, or to marry anyone. I don’t think there is anything wrong with remaining unmarried, provided you remain chaste. Nor am I telling anyone to lower their standards, whether that’s in terms of virginity, physical beauty, homemaking skills, or what have you. What I am saying is that your actions reveal your priorities, and if your standards are prohibitively high, it gives the lie to any claim you may make that marrying and having children is a high priority to you.

Think about it this way. A young man tells me that one of his top priorities is to provide a large percentage of his protein by hunting deer, but hasn’t been able to hunt so far because he can’t afford a deer rifle. I recommend that he buy a used NEF Handi-Rifle, or if he can’t find one, a Savage Axis, because they are decent rifles and cost less than $350 with a scope, even from overpriced retailers like Cabela’s. If he’s still not hunting 3 years later, because he refuses to buy anything short of a Weatherby Mark V Accumark and a Swarovsky scope, I’m not going to believe putting meat in the freezer is a high priority for him, no matter how many times he assures me it is.

Yes, there are significant differences between wives and rifles, but the general truth remains: If something is really a high priority to you, you will find a way to accomplish it.

In my experience, when someone says that something is a high priority to him, but acts as if it is not, he is almost inevitably unhappy about it. The dissonance between his perceived and actual priorities is mentally and emotionally exhausting.

So what do you do if that’s you? Well, you need to take stock of your priorities indicated by your actions, and those you claim to hold. You need to identify every instance where these are in conflict, and thoroughly consider which priority is actually more important to you. If the more important one is the one indicated by your actions, you simply acknowledge that, both mentally and verbally, and stop saying that something contrary is a priority. You start saying the truth you have already been living. If, on the other hand, you decide the priority you have been claiming to hold is more important than the one indicated by your actions, you do the inverse. In that case, you start living what you have already been saying. When your claimed and lived priorities are thus brought in line, you will find a level of peace that is impossible when they are in conflict.

Spring has Sprung…

On the way home from pre-sanctified liturgy this morning, I stopped and picked up a yearling doe from the side of the road. It had been hit by a car, breaking a hind leg, and pretty well mushing the hindquarters, but I was still able to extract enough good meat from it to add 8.5 lbs of ground venison to the freezer, and enough marginal venison to feed the dogs for a couple days. By the way, when I first wrote about buying a vacuum sealer, I did not realize what the most useful function would be.

Sealing roasts, steaks, and ground meat for freezing is certainly useful, but what we use far more is the attachment that lets you vacuum seal a mason jar using the regular canning lids. This has been extremely useful in making our Costco membership actually save us money. We buy sugar in 50 lb bags, baking soda in 10 lb bags, and many other dry goods such as coffee in bulk. We then transfer the contents of these bulk containers to half-gallon, quart, or pint size mason jars, and seal them with the FoodSaver attachment. This keeps the contents fresh for long-term storage in the larder, and we bring up only a couple jars of each item to stock the pantry. Some items, such as sugar, we only buy once a year (in this case, after the canning season, which is when we go through the most).

The day Lent started (Monday), my chickens went from providing a single egg a day to five eggs a day, so I expect to soon be up to 9 eggs a day which will allow the wife to make a little cash and offset the grocery budget a little. The duck has been laying almost as prolifically a a chicken, laying about 5 eggs a week, so we may sell a dozen duck eggs here or there during Lent as well.

It’s raining right now, and if it keeps raining and stays this warm, the snow and ice should be gone in less than a week. So far, none of the water has found its way into my basement, for which I am quite thankful.

It’s Not as Difficult as You Think

Some of our harvest

When we got married, both the wife and I had some skills that are less common today they they used to be. My wife was an accomplished cook, baker, and seamstress. I knew how to weld, do general construction, and work on cars. But there was plenty that we had never done and didn’t know how to do. No matter how much you were lucky enough to learn from your dad, its likely that you to have things to learn if you are trying to live in a traditional and self-sustaining manner.

Read more…It’s Not as Difficult as You Think

Can You Keep Chickens and Ducks Together?

Yes you can!

A little over a year ago, I visited a family in my state that’s much further along in their farming operations than we are. While the father still works a regular job, they have managed to buy a nice chunk of land (80 acres, I believe), and build a house and pole barn on it. When we visited, they had just slaughtered a number of broiler chickens (30ish?) and had another 30(?) egg layers. They also had 10-15 beef cows, and had a rented bull in with their herd when we visited. However, what got my attention was the large white duck walking around the yard.

Read more…Can You Keep Chickens and Ducks Together?

Victorio Deluxe Grain Mill–Review

Victorio Deluxe Hand Mill

In an effort to improve the nutrition and lower the cost of our homemade bread, the wife and I have discussed purchasing a flour mill for a year or more. We watched a lot of video reviews, did a lot of comparisons, and finally purchased the Victorio Deluxe Grain Mill about a week ago. Several batches of bread later, its time for a review.

Read more…Victorio Deluxe Grain Mill–Review

Notes on Veils

If you walk into our church for liturgy any given Sunday, you will observe that about 1/3 of the women are wearing some form of head covering, which I will refer to as a veil for convenience. If you arrive during matins, the number is probably a bit higher, but likely remains less than 1/2. This is the highest percentage of veiled women at any church that I have personally ever attended, but I am given to understand that there are churches in the US where the percentage is much higher.

Read more…Notes on Veils