Thursday, May 31, 2007

Blue moon
There's a full moon tonight, the second this month, so this one is a blue moon. From what I've read, this occurs about 40 times in a century - less than twice a year, but it's irregular. If memory serves we didn't have a single one in 2006.

This full moon is also called a Milk Moon since it's the season in which grasses and herbs in pastures are growing rapidly, meaning that this month cows and goats will be producing lots of milk that's especially rich and high in vitamins.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

More favorites
Today's paintings are both by Jean Honoré Fragonard.

Education Is Everything

The Young Girl Reading

This painting is owned by the National Gallery of Art, which also sells prints of its artwork. I have a print of this, but I haven't framed it or displayed it anywhere yet. I have a vague plan of collecting pictures of people reading, and then hanging them in our library some day.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Favorite art
Can't think of anything worthwhile to blog about, so I'm offering some favorite works of art - that is, things that are my favorite today, as my favorites are subject to change for no apparant reason. Looking over what I like best today, I realize I must be feeling awfully sentimental...

by William-Adolphe Bouguereau:

The Shell

Two Girls

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Online tutorials for homeschoolers
For the last few years we've been taking advantage of Peter Roise's knowledge and teaching skills by putting our oldest kids in his online classes at Cassiodorus. My oldest daughter has taken all of the classes over the years, my son has taken World History I, Latin, and Logic, and will be taking World History II (and retaking Logic) this year. My 14yod has taken Latin, but I've decided her reading and writing skills aren't where they would need to be in order to succeed at Mr. Roise's very challenging history class (check out the book list!) so she probably won't start that for another year.

The year my eldest took WHI, I listened in whenever I could and learned plenty myself - Mr. Roise, himself a homeschool graduate, has a thorough understanding of Scripture and a broad knowledge of history, having graduated from New St. Andrews College, and studied at Greyfriars' Hall. For example, I never knew that much of Paul's language regarding Christ, the Kingdom, and the Gospel, is very political in nature. Euongelion, the Greek word translated Gospel, was used at that time primarily in reference to proclamations made by Caesar, and the evangelist was Caesar's herald.

This language shows that Christ's reign over the earth is not just that he rules in his people's hearts, but that the kings of the earth must submit to him as well. The Roman Empire was a polytheistic place that was held together by worship of the Spirit of Rome and the Genius of Caesar. The early Christians were not persecuted for believing in Christ (Rome didn't care who or what you believed in), but for refusing to acknowledge Caesar as Lord of Lords. Having this kind of understanding of what was going on during the New Testament era helps us better to understand our faith and recognize what our duties in our own modern American culture are. And Mr. Roise always encourages his students in their faith in the LORD, praying with them at the beginning of class each week, and bringing Scripture to bear in all of their studies.

If you're looking for tutoring help in your homeschooling endeavors, do consider Cassiodorus. It's well worth the tuition.

Peter Roise is a member of Trinity Reformed Church, Moscow, Idaho (Peter Leithart, pastor).
Gotta love Chesterton
I opened a paper only ten minutes ago in which it was solemnly said, in the fine old style of such arguments, that there was a time when men regarded women as chattels. This is outside the serious possibilities of the human race. Men never could have regarded women as chattels. If a man tried to regard a woman as a chattel his life would not be worth living for twenty-four hours. You might as well say that there was a bad custom of using live tigers as arm-chairs; or that men had outgrown the habit of wearing dangerous snakes instead of watch-chains. It may or may not be the fact that men have sometimes found it necessary to define the non-political position of women by some legal form which called them chattels; just as they have thought it necessary in England to define the necessary authority of the State by the legal form of saying that the King could do no wrong. Whether this is so or not I do not know, and I do not care. But that any living man ever felt like that, that any living man ever felt as if a woman was a piece of furniture, with which he could do what he liked, is starkly incredible. And the whole tradition and the whole literature of mankind is solid against it. There is any amount of literature from the earliest time in praise of woman: calling her a mother, a protectress, a goddess. There is any amount of literature from the earliest time devoted to the abuse of woman, calling her a serpent, a snare, a devil, a consuming fire. But there is no ancient literature whatever, from the Ionians to the Ashantees, which denies her vitality and her power. The woman is always either the cause of a wicked war, like Helen, or she is the end of a great journey, like Penelope. In all the enormous love poetry of the world, it is practically impossible to find more than two or three poems written by a man to a woman which adopt that tone of de haut en bas, that tone as towards a pet animal, which we are now constantly assured has been the historic tone of men towards women. The poems are all on the other note; it is always “Why is the queen so cruel?” “Why is the goddess so cold?”

- The Illustrated London News, 6 April 1907.

(Thanks to Miss Kelly M. for directing me to this.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

"Progress" v. Civilization

[Referring to early post-Roman Britain] David Howlett demonstrates - through the apparent existence of a most intricate, allusive, Christian Latin culture apparent in Insular writings (including, now, inscribed stones) - that people whose lives were passed in archaeologically rough and simple settings were, intellectually, anything but rough and simple.
(Charles Thomas, Celtic Britain (1986) p. 20)

The precarious state of our civilization has grown with our control over nature, though we were promised an opposite result. We have assembled a vast warehouse of machinery which would, it was hoped, if not minister directly to the civilizing spirit, at least free other forces for that ministration. Yet this spirit shows signs of failing - the signs were in evidence before the World Wars - and everywhere crassness, moral obtuseness, and degradation are on the increase....

The painful truth is now beginning to emerge that a flourishing technology may make civilization more rather than less difficult of attainment. It leads to mobilization of external forces; it creates enormous concentrations of irresponsible power; through an inexorable standardization it destroys refinement and individuality.
(Richard Weaver, The Southern Tradition at Bay (published posthumously in 1968, though written in 1943) pp. 31-2)

Friday, May 18, 2007

About this time last year, my dryer broke, and since it was still covered by our homeowner's warranty, we called the company and they sent out a man from Sears to fix it. The appointment was scheduled for a week off, since Sears only sends a repairman out here once or twice a week. The man arrived on the appointed day and whipped out a fancy computer which he connected up to my dryer. The computer told him that my dryer's heating element had burned out. Well, I had told him that, too, but I realize he has to confirm the diagnosis and look for any further issues before proceeding. So. Burned out heating element. The man ordered a new one, but the warehouse he ordered from had it on backorder, so it wound up taking about four weeks for the part to come in. When it came in, I had to call Sears and let them know, so they could schedule the repairman to come back out and replace it - another week away. Total time with dead dryer: six weeks.

Less than a month later, the element burned out again. But this time we called the local repairman - the man that fixes our furnace and air conditioner when they need it. He came out that evening and took the dryer apart, cleaned it out, replaced the heating element (he'd brought one with him since Mike told him what the problem was over the telephone), and he told me what had caused the problem - five years of using dryer sheets had gummed it up so that there was friction where there shouldn't have been. Total time with dead dryer: about five hours.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Last month my washer started acting up and it got so bad that we finally had the local man come out and look at it. He came that evening, a Monday, took the washer apart and cleaned it out. This time he had to order a new pump, so he told me how to finagle it so I could still do laundry in the meantime. That Wednesday afternoon, he came back and replaced the pump.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

There's a woman who wants to buy three of our goats, only she doesn't have the cash so she suggested a barter. Her father is repairing our lawn-mower, plus (and this is worth a whole lot, if you ask me) she's taking all the stuff I've been collecting in my dejunking adventures and will yard-sale it for me.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Last week a woman pulled up in my driveway asking if we have diary goats. When I said yes, she wanted to know if she could have some milk. Seems she raised all her own children on raw goat milk but no longer keeps goats, and now her sixteen month old granddaughter, who only drinks raw milk, was visiting and they had run out of the milk they'd brought with them. We had a nice conversation and then I gave her two quarts of milk, no charge - it's illegal to sell raw milk in Virginia. Later in the week, the woman brought my clean quart jars back to me, along with a plateful of ginger cookies, and a promise to help with hoof-trimming. I forgot to ask how she knew about us, though - wish I had.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

We haven't replaced our laying flock yet since the fox attack, so Mike has been buying eggs from his coworkers. The last couple dozen were paid for with a jar full of carriage bolts we had left over from a previous construction job on the farm.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Through a series of unfortunate events, we found ourselves the owners of an ancient player piano sadly in need of repairs we could not manage ourselves. Mike mentioned it to a neighbor, saying we needed to sell it. He came to look at it, fell in love with it, and we sold it to him for a truckload of manure for our garden.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ascension Day

Hail thee, festival day!
Blessed day to be hallowed forever;
Day when our risen Lord
Rose in the heavens to reign.

He who was nailed to the cross
Is Ruler and Lord of all people.
All things created on earth
Sing to the glory of God.

Hail thee, festival day!
Blessed day to be hallowed forever;
Day when our risen Lord
Rose in the heavens to reign.

Daily the loveliness grows,
Adorned with glory of blossom;
Heaven her gates unbars,
Flinging her increase of light.

Hail thee, festival day!
Blessed day to be hallowed forever;
Day when our risen Lord
Rose in the heavens to reign.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

words: Venan­ti­us For­tu­na­tus (530-609) (Sal­ve fes­ta di­es toto ven­er­a­bi­lis ae­vo)
tr. Maurice F. Bell
music: Salve Festa Dies, Ralph Vaughan Williams

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

When we bought this house the previous owners left here a brief history of our county written by a resident, and the uncle of one of our neighbors, back in 1962. I was re-reading it this past weekend and wishing that I had time to edit it, and bring it up to date, and have it published. It was so interesting and full of insights into previous eras.

King George County Virginia was originally settled in the mid-1600s, and the author had so much knowledge of the families who settled here - where they lived, who married whom, and who inherited what. In reading it over, I was reminded that quite often widows and daughters inherited huge estates from their husbands and fathers, and bought and sold land. It seems quite routine, really, and it fits with my knowledge of my own family in Virginia and Georgia during colonial times as well as into the 1800s.

One of the complaints that feminists have against our country is that women did not have the right to own property prior to the last century, and I've just got to ask - were they lying about the situation, or was it different in other parts of the country?

Because as far as I can tell, Southern women have always had the right to own property, and that in an openly patriarchal society.
The funny thing about dejunking is that the things you need to get rid of are the things that are boxed up in the attic or basement, or stacked in the cupboards in the schoolroom, or tucked away in the farthest reaches of the linen closet. So, you spend days and days throwing away things that can't be repaired, and filling the sunroom with things you need to yardsale or donate, and yet the top of your dresser, your desk, the dining room table, and the floor in the playroom are all still cluttered, because obviously, with all that junk taking up your storage spaces, the things you actually use always get left out.

And this leads me to a question - is there any really morally compelling reason why I should keep handwriting and elementary math workbooks belonging to my 18, 16, and 14 year olds? Because I feel like a Bad Mommy when I throw those things away.