Thursday, September 18, 2008

Update on Bishop Duncan

In Richard Baxter's words, a "hereticating majority of Bishops" has acted. I found the best analysis here.

There is a bright spot..............

As was resolved by resolution made at the Provincial Synod in Valparaiso last November 2007, we are happy to welcome Bishop Duncan into the Province of the Southern Cone as a member of our House of Bishops, effective immediately. Neither the Presiding Bishop nor the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church has any further jurisdiction over his ministry. We pray for all Anglicans in Pittsburgh as they consider their own relationship with The Episcopal Church in the coming weeks.

Archbishop Gregory Venables.

Lord willing, our Diocese will vote to follow him October 4.

Ember Day Prayers for my Bishop

This is one of the seasonal times of Ember Days, meant for prayer, fasting, and ordination. The ember days are a part of each of the four seasons, and seem to be a uniquely Celtic/British contribution to the western calendar of the Christian Year. Later today, the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church is also meeting in Utah to consider the removal of Bishop Robert Duncan as Bishop of Pittsburgh for "Abandonment of the Communion"

Such a charge is laughable, and underlies Bishop Bob's real crime, of leading the Diocese of Pittsburgh out of the the Episcopal Church into a closer relationship with our sister Anglican churches in other countries that still believe strange things (In the eyes of the revisionist liberals who are in charge of the national Episcopal Church)What are some of the strange things that Bishop Bob teaches?

That all men are sinners.

That Jesus Christ died for sinners, rose from the dead and through this offers forgiveness of sins.

That the Bible is the inspired word of God for his people.

That God intends marriage as a sacramental relationship between one man and one woman, rather than two men or two women.

That though we are all sinners, unrepentant active homosexuals should not be ordained as clergy.

That the Church is a community of shared faith, and it is his obligation to work to unite orthodox believers.

I must confess a low opinion of Bishops in General, whether Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran or Anglicans. Many are arrogant, concerned about their own power, and many are unfortunately corrupt. If I did not believe in the reality of the sacraments and apostolic succession, I would be another kind of Christian. Bishops like Robert Duncan are men worthy of the pastorate, risking all in order to lead their flock to safe grounds. He has already faced ridicule, hatred, and lawsuits. There will be more in the months to come, as the diocese of Pittsburgh votes in early October to re affiliate with the Anglican Diocese of the Southern Cone, and part of the larger worldwide fellowship of confessing Anglicans. Please pray for him, and his flock.

The psalter reading for this Ember Day in the Prayer book is Psalm One Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. Bishop Duncan has declined to attend the House of Bishops meeting for his own deposing without trial.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Reflections on Septermber 11th

September 11, 2008 passed here in Western Pennsylvania as a beautiful day, though the skies were not as bright blue as that day in 2001. Like many Americans, that day still effects me profoundly.

When I am upset, I pray. I started the morning with the prayers posted on the Ohio Anglican Site (Thanks Again Brother!) and went to work. My off farm work sent me on a journey though the countryside about 80 miles away. Being Restless all day, I stopped on my return journey in the town of Kitanning in the hope that The town's conservative Episcopal church would be open. Nobody was there, but the door was thankfully open. Reading the psalter out of my prayer book and saying some of the funeral prayers in such a beautiful Anglican church was a great blessing to me. I left feeling not exactly refreshed, but comforted.

Some years ago, I heard a talk on 9/11 by my favorite Eastern Orthodox Theologian, Father Thomas Hopko. Father Thomas is very Cross-focused. I still remember a few things from this talk:

1. We cannot allow terrorists to fly airplanes into buildings and hurt innocent people. We must fight to stop this in any way we can.

2. At that same time, we must recognize the evil in ourselves--including that of our nation. A country that aborts so many of its own babies cannot simply call itself good, and the terrorists as evil. (while not part of the talk, I was reminded of a quote by Peter Kreeft from long before 9/11, "If God spares New York City, he owes an apology to Sodom and Gomorrah")

3. Everything comes from God. God calls some of the wicked kings in the Bible "his servants"

4. EVERY DEATH is a tragedy, but for Christians, the ultimate manifestation of God's Love is a dead Jew on a cross.

As a Christian, I still grieve for every one of those innocent people, young and old, rich and poor, men and women, who were killed going about their daily business. As an American, I want the terrorists and those who supported them brought to justice for their murder. However, I also want us to become a better people. My grief is reserved for the lives lost. As an agrarian, I think the Towers as buildings were vanity and monuments to Mammon. I think we were a better Country when the tallest buildings in every town were church steeples.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Porches are useful for more than sitting

Our house was built by my Great-Great Uncle in 1892. Over the years, a large family, some poverty and time took her toll. The House is built like a bank barn, in that the front grade is 6 feet lower than the rear. This design allowed a nice big front porch to be about 7 feet above grade. The porch was pretty deteriorated when we decided to remodel the house, so we replaced it, and actually made it a bit larger. It now measures about 10X28 feet.The height lets us store unsightly stuff below it, like coal, firewood, and ladders. The railing is made from rough cut local hemlock, and are large enough to store tomatoes, winter squash, or other vegetables for curing. My Lovely and Economical wife has a clothesline on for drying on days when it just might rain a little. We use it to process things like tomato juice that would mess up the kitchen. She often stores big pots of soup to cool there in the colder months, as the dogs cannot reach it. The decking is local rough cut White Oak. Because it is elevated and does not touch the soil, the decking does not need to be treated. Over the years it has gotten hard as stone. There is a trapdoor to get to the storage area below, or throw firewood up for our parlor stove. The porch is actually an invaluable working part of our homestead, though we do have a wooden bench large enough for the occasional nap as well. I hope to die here, but; should I ever design a house, I think it would include some kind of covered workspace like this.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Spurious Jefferson Quote?

My wife and I discussed the Jefferson quote in yesterday's post, and she was the first to point out that it may be one of those falsely attributed ones.It is widely quoted on many Black and Tan hound sites.

After a little research tonight, would state that it probably is falsely attributed to Jefferson. I read a couple of entries in the Thomas Jeferson wiki site run by Monitcello, as well as our copy of Mark Derr's Dogs History of America. Neither mentions Jefferson as a houndsman, though George Washington was a lover of hounds. More about this if I hear back from the Monticello folks.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Coonhunter's Festival

"How one deals with their Coonhound's slobber is the most telling way of how one deals with everyday problems"

Thomas Jefferson, Third US President and Coonhunter

As a young person, I loved coonhunting. The woods at night are a very different place. Even with a light, familiar places become very different in the dark. Because the hunter follows the voice of the hound, the hunter finds himself in thickets and brambles where no sane person would willingly go. I have been lost, scratched, fell in a creek in cold weather, missed being sprayed by a skunk (My three dogs got it), and nearly bit by coons several times.

These days my coonhunting is the armchair variety, due to other commitments of life and the death of my father, but I still enjoy seeing and hearing hounds. So I was happy when a friend asked if I would take one of his boys to the Mahoning County Coonhunters festival last weekend. I had not been to this annual event in about 12 years. It is a combination flea market (mostly hunting,trapping, and dog supplies)hunters' reunion, and a water race. There were about 4000 people there by my estimate; about 10-15 percent were Amish, so I tried to be careful with the camera.

Here is a part of the flea market

There was everything for sale from Indian Artifacts

to poultry

There were also many dogs for sale,beagles of every age, squirrel dogs, Treeing Walkers and Blueticks. Whet I was surprised not to see were the older breeds of medium nosed hound (like the Redbone) or the older type Black and Tans. Even the Blueticks look leggier and more like Walkers. It seems the sport has really split between hide and meat hunters, who now use Cur Dogs, and competition hunters, who are using mostly Walkers. The Water Race dogs have always been a breed apart, having a little greyhound in them. The water race works like this:

A cable contains a float cage with a Coon. This cable is drawn across a pond with the dogs in pursuit. The lead dog wins and I believe first tree bark wins.

The winners enjoy a cash purse and races are accompanied by Calcutta style wagering.

Here is a closeup of a water race dog

My delight in this festival is seeing the young people interested in the outdoor sports,including a few young trappers and fur hunters. My young friend's older brother was there stocking up on supplies for fall trapping. In my own youth, trapping and fur hunting made money. AS a 12 year old kid, I made $15-20 a day with a small trapline during school holidays and weekends. The furbearing predators were kept in check, and the ones we caught were beautiful and healthy, unlike the diseased one I often have to kill out of pity today. The countryside needs more trappers and fur hunters and less citified Cabela-clad trophy deer hunters.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Poultry Market

Last Fall I traded a gallon of cider and two Buff Orpington pullets to a neighbor for six bantam chickens. We have had chickens for years but never bantams. I have fallen in love with the cute little birds (One Cochin and the rest Japanese Bantams). They seem to be smarter than full size chickens, and are especially prolific. While I lost one to a fox, the remaining two roosters and three hens have given me 18 new chicks this year. I kept back two pullets and gave two roosters and two hens to a neighboring youngster to start his flock. We also had some excess cockerels from the Orpington Hatch, and already have a freezer full of chicken. I decided to take some of our excess to the market in nearby Rogers Ohio.

Rogers is hard to describe; part carnival, part farmers market, part auction, and part flea market. Every Friday this sleepy little Ohio town attracts a thousands of buyers and sellers in a day of pure capitalism. There are city folks from Youngstown and Pittsburgh; recent immigrants from Latin America, Asia and the middle East; many Amish and Mennonites, and my own people (upper Ohio Valley Rednecks). There are usually dozens of produce dealers; three or four Amish bakers; large buildings with used books, car parts, hardware, and knick-knack dealers. There are food trailers with the usually carnival food. People often sit near the main restroom area and offer free puppies. Others sell purebred puppies. There are pony rides for the kids. The flea market outside has hundreds of dealers on a good day.

I went with a shopping list:

A wooden sheep crook to replace one I broke
Smoked cheese
Chocolate walnut fudge for my lovely bride
zinc jar lids for our old time canning jars

I found everything but the jar lids, and also got a good deal on some Roma tomatoes, (which we did not grow this year) a few pounds of green beans (ours are played out),
a military first aid kit (Useful for chainsaw accidents), An Amish shoofly pie and some scented soap for my wife. Prices are usually well below stores. If we did not garden but wanted to preserve food, I would make the trip to Rogers several times a season for this purpose. A young family could save considerable money on their groceries if they lived nearby.

What I find most remarkable about Rogers is how Americans of very different backgrounds meet in the market place on equal terms. There are buyers and sellers of every race. I overheard an older Italian man ask a Latin American produce vendor his nationality. The vendor replied "Italian" The older man began joshing him , and accusing him of "swimming the River" This was in jest on both of their parts, and in the equality of buying and selling, differences are set aside. I talked with a Coptic couple from Egypt who sell copies of Egyptian antiquities. Urban black families meet Amish ones. I am sure you can find trouble at this large market, but I am often amazed how so many different people actually get along so well. I have never seen any security or police there.

The poultry Auction starts at 6:00 pm. I would guess they sold about 300-400 head of poultry, 75 rabbits and maybe 40 goats. The birds range from poor old worn out leghorn laying hens to well started and well bred young stock. Many people buy chickens there for butchering. The average seemed to be $2,00 to $4,00 per head, dependent upon quality. Rabbits bring about the same. Young turkey were brining about $10.00 each. A few of the bantam pens were bringing $35.00+;especially young chicks and a mother with chicks. I need to exercise restraint around poultry sales. I was tempted by a pair of American buff geese (Winning bid $36), a pair of tufted Roman geese and the bantam call ducks. I confined my bidding to a trio of Red Cochin bantams which I did not win. However, since I was actually going to SELL chickens, I am not too sorry I did not BUY any more. However, Seeing all the different Bantams for sale did feed my interest in breeding and expanding my flock of these miniature chickens.