Monday, March 16, 2015

Declutter Delay

It's been a hot topic for a couple of years now: simplify, throw out, declutter. Kind of like spring cleaning on steroids. The other day I thoroughly cleaned the front room, rearranging the furniture, making sure to catch all the sneaky dust bunnies hiding in the corners and clinging to the paneling.
Today I decided to tackle my closet. I moved a few pair of shoes to the Goodwill pile and threw out a couple empty(!) boxes. While cleaning the top shelf, I found my box of letters from Haiti. Not too long ago, I was wondering where I had put this, thinking it was probably time to toss it out.

That's quite a stash! 

I pulled out two cards that weren't lined up like the rest. You can see them sitting along the edge of the box. The first was a birthday card from 1984, from the two young men who taught me Creole, written in French, of all things!

"Happy Birthday, dear Madame Steve. May the year be a year of joy, peace, goodness, success, and all good things." ~Joel, your unforgettable friend.
"If ever you arrive somewhere else, this card will remind you of your best friends." ~Jean Claude.

Oh, my! "If ever you arrive somewhere else." Yup, I'm definitely somewhere else, and my eyes are filling with tears. Next, a birthday card from 1985.

This was also from Joel and Jean Claude, plus the third of the Three Musketeers: Prophete. The upper left corner says, "From J. Dorceus, J. C. Louis, P. Baptiste. "Prophete is not here. Happy birthday from him, for he put his money to buy the card, too."

I think you can read the rest. "If May 12th wasn't existed, we would invent it, so to wish you a happy birthday and a happy mother's day."

What can I say? A big chunk of my life. Faraway friends, and one already awaiting me in heaven. I carefully put the two cards back in the box. I'll continue to clean and declutter, but this treasure box won't be going anywhere anytime soon. Little by little, I'll do my best to work my way through the memories.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Hanging On

I guess you've figured out that I'm not a fan of living on a dairy farm. It's hard, dirty work with little return. But farmers love their farms ... and the small family farm is becoming a thing of the past. That aspect of it breaks my heart. It just doesn't seem right that the big business of huge farms can force the little guy out.

The cost for Weldon to ship his milk to the processing plant went from $2500 a year to $7,000 a year, effectively putting him out of business. On January 31, 2015, Weldon sold all of his best milkers. I confess to getting teary-eyed as I saw the truck driving away with our cows. Right now, Weldon is still milking eight Holsteins. Whatever milk isn't fed to the calves or sold as pet feed to our customers is poured down the drain.
For the year 2014, Weldon once again had the cleanest milk in the state, receiving what will be his final Platinum Award. He'll continue to have the cleanest milk in the state, of course, and he'll hang on to the farming life as long as possible - planting corn, raising the 16 new calves, and doing what he loves to do. I think he's adjusting pretty well, but he asked another retired dairy farmer, "When will the pain go away?" The answer: "Never."

There was an interesting article in the Winston-Salem Journal this past week about another North Carolina dairy farmer trying to hang on. You can read Randy Lewis' story here.

"His life has a certain good and timeless rhythm - and that includes square dances...." At the end of the article, you'll find a link to "The Last Barn Dance," a documentary film that has been made about his farm and the dances. Hey! I think it's a pretty cool idea.

Life goes on. Most of the female cats are pregnant, the jonquils are pushing up through anything that stands in their way, and this Sunday we'll "spring forward." I just hope someone has reminded Mother Nature of the event.