Sabine Update & Penjing Report

It has been a while since I have posted on the Sabine Farm.  I have been out and around and, then, busy.


From time to time the heavens open and it pours rain.

We actually wee more rain right now.

The raspberries are coming in so fast that I can’t pick enough and stay ahead.

Blueberries too.

Neither a raspberry nor a blueberry.

Sometimes a delivery truck swoops in with surprises. … often involving more to read.

When you use my Amazon wish list, you tend to keep me buried in reading.

The other day I was terribly down about something.  Anyway… I got in the car and took a drive around various country roads with all the windows down and the music turned up.

Eventually I made my way to a little park where the rocks and river are nice.

Back at the Sabine Farm again, ….

Flowers flourish.

I don’t know what these are, but they are cool looking.

Someone once posted on one of these Sabine updates a recommendation that we should have a Sabine apiary.

Now we have a Sabine apiary… a very active apiary.

Oopps… wrong century.

This was shot with a big lens.

Bees help with the flowers and the veg, fruit trees, et al. I am sure.

I wonder about candles later… hmmm….

In the meantime, things are blooming nicely.  I cut hollyhocks for the chapel the other day.

But the Sabine Farm, to be true to its spirit and the original inspiration by the great poet, must have some grape vines.


Both Penjing and Irohamomiji are doing very well.

Penjing seems to thrive in the full sunlight of the long afternoons.  Irohamomiji, being much larger, needs to be watched, lest the shallow soil dry out too much.

An early morning constitutional.

I have to figure out how to trim Irohamomiji soon.

After full days, when the agenda list is pretty much complete (I go by the 8/10 rule), when the ball game is on (watching the Twins beat the White Sox last night was a pleasure, on the deck, with a cigar – I drag a TV out and patch it in to a cable or use a laptop and the Slingbox – a material proof that God loves us)…

… the vistas can be very nice indeed.

In any event, the day concludes with Compline in the Sabine chapel …

Then it’s off to read Ambrose or Augustine until late.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Geoffrey says:

    Great post, Fr. Z! These are among my favourites. I have two questions, should you wish to answer them: (1) What kind of music were you listening to on your drive in the country (Bach Verdi? Sinatra?) and (2) Whatever happened to the Z-cam and Radio Sabina?

  2. CK says:

    Fr. Z, are you sure you haven’t already died and gone to heaven?

    That unidentified flower looks rather like an astilbe but it seems too late in the season for that…yet, in cooler climate, possible.

  3. Geoffrey:

    1) loud music

    2) I terminated the Z-Cam and Radio Sabina.

    Based on the feedback I got, I found that not very many people actually made use of them and, when they did and sent feedback, it often involved nitpicking rubbish that wasted my time and intellect. “Why isn’t your altar cloth long enough?” or “The volume fluctuates and I DONT LIKE THAT!” or “Why do you put the flowers there?” or “Shouldn’t the presence lamp be closer to the altar?” or “I’m not interested in seeing a place where nothing happens.” or “I don’t like the lighting at night.” or “It’s boring when the picture is dark and you can’t see anything”. … that sort of thing.

    It wound up being too much trouble for either a) the sense of satisfaction it gave me that someone might benefit from it and appreciate it b) amount of bandwidth it took to put it out there.

    And I had actually been working on how to expand the stream, and do more things live there, create videos, include brief sermons, etc. But… c’est la guerre.

    I suppose I could be bribed to get it running again, but it would take a lot.

  4. Re: being terribly down about something

    I have been carrying you and that particular intention in my heart these past days, Father, and will continue to do so. May the Lord send His angels to comfort you!

  5. Geoffrey says:

    Fr. Z:

    (1) Try Dies Irae from Verdi’s Requiem on your next drive. That will wake the neighbours!

    (2) I understand your reasons. I will mourn the loss of the Z-cam, and keep on picketing for its return. Often during the course of a stressful day, I would take a brief “retreat” into the virtual Sabine Chapel to recollect myself.

    P.S. What with living at the Sabine Farm, what could a person EVER bribe you with? Hmmm… Perhaps I have an old bottle of Port in my cellar! ;-)

  6. Deusdonat says:

    FRZ, I’m glad you have a very active apiary!! From what the news reports are saying, so many seem to succumb to that CCD (Colony Colapse Disorder).

  7. Fr. BJ says:

    What is the 8/10 rule?

  8. NorthoftheBorder says:

    Envy really doesn’t make you feel any better afterwards

  9. Deusdonat: Colony Colapse Disorder

    I know nothing of these things and the apiary is rather new.

    We shall see.

  10. Fr. Renzo: Sounds like a lot of work.

  11. Dark Radiance says:

    Beautiful pictures Father. I see that you are taking Richard of St. Victor’s adage to heart with your camera.

  12. Kradcliffe says:

    Dear Father Z, I do like to see photos of your farm. They make me kinda nostalgic… and envious. I’m from the Midwest, although not so far North, and seeing your photos makes me homesick. It’s beautiful in Scotland, but I sure do miss warm summer nights, the sounds of crickets, the American landscape…

  13. Living in the city can be a drag sometimes.

  14. KJ MacArthur says:


    One of the permanent deacons who serves at St. Agnes (I will not name names) has been making mead for a few years. You might consult with him.

    He used to bring it, along with home-made beer, to the Chesterton Conference at UST in St. Paul until the university began (this year) to enforce prohibitionist practices totally incompatible with the spirit of things Chestertonian.

  15. Lacrimarum Valle says:

    OK Father, ref the reinstatement of Z-Cam and Radio Sabina – may I ask exactly how much of a bribe, and of what kind? Are you persuadable?

  16. Lacrimarum Valle says:

    P.S. Father, sorry to hear that life is being unkind to you at the moment. [Life isn’t being unkind. Don’t jump to conclusions.] I’m certain that there will be lots of prayers heading heavenward for you from the internauts on here, including myself. Don’t be discouraged.

  17. Tom S. says:

    A Horseshoe pit! What a great place!!!

  18. What kind of cigar?

    [You sure have a lot of questions! It was a Macanudo.]

  19. Tomas Lopez says:

    Fr Z–Your unidentified yellow flower appears to be lanceleaf tickseed (Coreopsis lanceolata). Perhaps you could look at the images by googling the scientific name to see if that seems right to you.

    Where is the Sabine farm, anyway? I had assumed it was in Italy, but if so, you were outside watching the baseball game at 3 AM, so I guess not! [That has been known to happen.]

    Keep up the good work!

  20. Lacrimarum Valle says:

    Sorry, Father. If jumping to conclusions was an Olympic sport I’d be a three-time gold medal winner. Point taken.

  21. Matt says:

    Father I too enjoy seeing the White Sox get beat by the Twins….I’m a Cubs fan. [ITE CATULI!]

  22. Dove says:

    I love seeing the pictures of the Sabine Farm. Re: the camera, you could turn off the comments. [Not worth it.]

  23. Hoka2_99 says:

    Beautiful photographs of heavenly subjects! Thank you! You almost converted me to North America…….but not quite. Central and southern Europe and the British Isles are still top of my list.

  24. Peg says:

    Beautiful pictures Father Z. We have a great spot too (much smaller than yours) thanks to the hard work of landscaping sons. I always feel down when I have to leave, except when we go to Mass each morning (we are blessed to have the EF everyday and twice on Sunday. The SIGHTS, the idiotic talk, the blasphemy… I can’t wait to get home, listen to chant, watch the clouds and long for heaven.

  25. It is important to have silence in life.

  26. Trad Tom says:

    Thank you, Father Z, for all the beauty that you share, for the inspiration you provide, and for your (seemingly) never-ending dealings as a member of the Church Militant! You mean so much to so many!

  27. Trisha Tan says:

    Those berries look so plentiful and gorgeous. Seeing the pictures makes me want to eat them…and then make a bunch of pies. Both of which I’m sure you’ve already done.

  28. Jane says:

    The pictures are stunning.

  29. Coletta says:

    These are beautiful pictures. Thank you.
    I really like the little stream with the rocks all around.
    I would spend a lot of time there.

    bless you, Father.

  30. An American Mother says:

    Well — another beekeeper!

    I see you must have bears locally – just don’t forget to turn off the fence before you go in.

    If you have Italians, [LOL!]
    you don’t need to worry about getting stung if you stay out of the direct flight path in front of the hive. They are extremely gentle. [Fabrizio and Bear over at COL Forum will love this! – Fr. Z]

    Best piece of advice for beginning beekeepers: Use smoke. LOTS of smoke. For a LONG time. Then smoke them some more. That will solve 90% of your problems right there.

  31. An American Mother says:

    No, seriously!!!!

    Vergil was the first (on record) to describe the Italian strain of bee (in Book IV of the Georgics). He says, “elucent aliae et fulgore coruscant/ ardentes auro et paribus lita corpora guttis.” And they are – they are the most beautiful bees of all, they shine golden in the light. [Interesting!]

    And they are sweet and gentle. They gather less honey, because aggressive bees are more aggressive foragers. But frankly, I’ll take the gentle bees and less honey any day. I hate getting stung up!

  32. Jan says:

    Fr Z, I too love the photos from the Sabine Farm – all of them – at the moment I live right on a river (the mighty Waikato – although a mere stream compared to the rivers in the US!) Thank you for lifting my spirits, especially during the long wait we have had for the return of the Tridentine Mass – we now have Mass once a month in three different cities, but still no Sunday Mass and very often have to endure guitar and bongo drums and everything that goes with it. It’s times like these that I do what you do and drive into the peaceful countryside where blue sky and natural beauty always lift my spirits. Discovering your blog has been a live saver! Thanks for everything. Keeping you in my prayers, Father.

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