Eve of Destruction Circa 1/02: Letter from the Cow Farm

I received this letter in long hand from Ed’s relative, Bryan Jewison, in Minnesota. Here is a middle-aged good-looking man, with a college degree in biology, loving and living his life on a farm. We had visited them last summer when Ed’s grandma was moved into a nursing home. Having never visited a farm, Samantha and I were entranced, while Eddie was reminded of his early home life. I wrote, in longhand, back to Bryan, promising that I would e-mail his poetic letter to my editor.

Sit back, grab a warm afghan, a hot cup of decaf latte and put down the remote. It’ll only take a moment.

Eve, Eddie and Samantha,

My season greetings to you. I wish you the best for the next year which is, well, now. It’s not that I’m late about doing things, I just don’t get things done.

I enjoyed your visit last June very much. It was too bad the flies and humidity had to be so obnoxious. We have Samantha’s picture on the refrigerator. It is one of those photos that says a lot. I really like it. (Note to Signal readers: It was a very sweaty and broad-smiled Samantha, inside their old red barn, on top of several haystacks. Their mixed-breed dog was at her left with the sun streaming in behind them.)

Last year’s crop was not the best. To wet, too hot, too dry, but we’re through with it and in another few months will be doing it all over again. I’ve come to appreciate more what I do as the years pass. The change of seasons and the rhythms of nature always seem to offer up something new every year. This last year we had an abundance of Swallowtail butterflies of numbers I’ve never seen in my life, and, perhaps may never see again.

And so it goes. We are having a mild winter this year. The lake did not freeze over until about a week before Christmas which is unusual. We’ve had little snow and the temperature has been above 0 degrees. Each ten degrees below 0, however, seems to bring a different level of cold and difficulty. The few times it has been –30 degrees is like being in the twilight zone.

Lynn sawed up a load of logs at a sawmill a few weeks ago, has been doing some ice fishing and butchering some hogs for a neighbor when he is not helping me. I stay busy just doing chores everyday and once in awhile I leave the farm to go to town to do things that have to be done or buy supplies. We have a bunch of baby calves that we have outside in hitches. We had 33 until last week when we moved some inside. When the weather gets colder, they eat more and demand more attention.

Mothers is doing fine doing what she always does. (Second note to Signal readers: Great-aunt Grace is near ninety and starts her day at 3AM to pasteurize the milk before she continues with her own daily chores!) Your grandma Ellen was over for Christmas and she seemed to enjoy herself. As the saying goes, “fun was had by all.”

I am sending something in the mail for Samantha. I hope she is doing well in school.

I follow the events in Afghanistan and other places but they seem all so very distant from the farm fields and I don’t really worry about someone hijacking a tractor. I guess I do think about foot and mouth disease though. We had a letter from the Department of Agriculture concerning it. They said they would depopulate the livestock in a 15 mile radius of an outbreak which takes in a big area. Well I’m getting to the end of a page and am running out of words. Take care and I hope everything is well in that land they call California.



I have absolutely nothing to add!