December 2010 Archives

69 to 0


Organ christmas.jpg

One of the best things about attending church is just being able to sing nice and loud for a couple hours (including choir practice) a week-- especially with other folks. Seems to me it is good for the soul to belt out a few tunes now and then. For example, I'm teaching the kids the old Fig Newton commercial jingle from the 70's "oooey gooey rich and chewy inside. golden cakey tender flakey outside..." Make 'em sing and dance for their supper.

I'm not a sophisticate when it comes to music and so I hadn't noticed that our church organ had troubles. A committee formed to look into getting a new organ. They worked for the better part of a year; getting bids, traveling to various area churches to play the different types of organs, and figuring out the finances. They brought the bids and their recommendations before the whole church congregation-- basically held us after the service-- the ushers stubbornly not leading us out of the sanctuary. Earnest was incensed-- "What!? Church is over and we don't get to leave?" It was more than a fidgety 6 year old could take.

The committee was nervous as they presented the request. They had no idea what the sentiment of the crowd was. Neither did I- I wasn't even sure what the man sitting next to me would vote in a secret ballot. Even though I am married to him.

They passed out secret ballots; we all voted and passed our votes down the aisle. A couple folks went into the lobby to count them. After a bit Joanne walked down and handed the results to the church president. Votes in favor 69. Opposed 0.

For what ever reason I wanted to burst into tears of joy. Believe me, I'm not that attached to getting an organ. It was just giddyingly refreshing to sit in a room with 100 people -- newborns to 100 years old-- republicans and democrats-- white collar and blue collar workers-- and we all agreed on something. Not a curmudgeon in the crowd. Imagine that- 69 to 0.

What's more- during these hard economic times that vote is a most hopeful statement about the future. We will invest in the future. Not just the things that HAVE to be done like repairs, but things that bring nothing more than beauty, comfort, joy for generations to come. Something as ephemeral as a few blessed bars of "For the Beauty of the Earth" on a better instrument.

If you want to hear the new organ- it was installed Tuesday-- consider yourself invited to Trinity Lutheran Church for the 10:30 service this Sunday. Hopefully, there's a great line up of songs. And just in time for the Christmas carols!

Dairying... what keeps me up at night


Dairy postcard 1937.jpg
Postcard 1937

We live on what was a dairy farm for the better part of a century. It was one of hundreds of dairy farms in Big Stone County. Now there are three. And at least one of those three would like to throw in the towel.

I watch our own dairy infrastructure degrade before my eyes. The milk parlor now fills with water in the spring. The roof of the milk house needs repair. It's been 15 years since cows were milked here. One night over dinner as I talked about how this could be a dairy farm again, my usually calm husband raised his voice and pounded his fist on the table and said "I will not start milking again!" Days later one of the kids said to me "Dad really doesn't want to milk, does he?!" He was a dairyman into his late 20's and then worked in the U's dairy barns. Guess he thinks that's enough.

Mike was one of many thousands of Big Stone County kids raised milking cows. He learned how to look for good genetics (and built his own fine quality herd), how to raise calves, care for large animals, haul manure, feed and water cattle, to say nothing of milking. Right now I know of only one teenage boy in the county who is receiving this hands on education.

A couple weeks ago I was asked to talk to an environmental communications class at the U on how agriculture is included in environmental discussions and decision making. I asked the room of about 40 people:
How many of you were raised on farms? (answer 2)
How many of your parents were raised on farms? (answer 10)
How many of your grandparents were raised on farms? (answer 30)

Think about this societal change we've experienced in just 3 generations. What keeps me awake is that we are becoming so far removed from so many skills so fast. I just can't help thinking that we lose these widespread skills at our own peril. So we get down to having a few dozen people in the State who could run a dairy farm. Then what?

I asked that same class:
How many of you aspire to be farmers? (answer 1) One proud young woman shot her arm enthusiastically into the air. Here's hoping- eh?


Mistaken for a Sunrise


mistaken for a sunrise.jpg
Sunrise on our farm

I walked the kids down the driveway and had to skip my morning walk to do some farm work in preparation for the coming blizzard-whiteout-over ice.

As I walked down the driveway- the sky completely gray- I saw a dot of sunrise on the horizon through my farmstead and grove. I marveled that there was one tiny break in the clouds in what looked like a completely low cloud covered sky. As I closed the 1/2 mile between the end of the driveway and the farm, I realized that wasn't a sunrise. It was my husband in his blaze orange on top of the quonset (again).

Can't say I've ever mistaken anyone but him for a sunrise.

**Note: my blog was messed up for a while. THANK YOU SHANE for fixing it.**

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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