Thursday, November 26, 2009
Things to be thankful for...
...on this Thanksgiving.
My wife Aimee, who always amazes me with her capacity for hard work, serious thought, and ability to reconstruct our lives every few months or years. If I'm ever in a rut, Aimee will fire up her mind-tractor and pull me out.
My sister Carol, without whom Aimee and I would have had to pack up our entire lives here in the US, with all the hard-won benefits of our jobs, our PhDs, our sweat-equity in this house and land, and go home to Wales to look after my ailing, aged parents. But Carol does this every day, does almost all --99%-- of my share, and never complains.
Chemotherapy: Aimee's Dad, Dick, still kicking and making fun after, what?, 6-7 years of leukemia. Agent Orange is not a friendly citrus fruit-spy.
Our jobs at Unity College. Challenging, tiring, often infuriating, never dull, always relevant to the future of the natural and human worlds.
This old farmhouse, safe, handsome, sturdy, warm, efficient, cost-effective, situated among good neighbors and wild woodlands.
This old farmland and the surprisingly abundant food for man and beast that you can get off 3.5 acres of rock-strewn Maine and the ten acres of hayfield we rent (in the form of 400 finished bales) each year.
The 12 acre woodlot lease that keeps us warm each year, for less than zero carbon, and $50/acre. Each acre sequesters more than twice what we burn.
Oddments in my mind today:
Penicillin: we have a sick ewe-lamb, Polly, who has a good chance of recovery because of this wonder-drug now nearly 70 years old. Polly was my favorite lamb of this year's crop, and I will hate to have to put her down if she doesn't recover. Penicillin also saved my life as a kid -- scarlet fever at age 5 was a killer before Alex Fleming found this drug.
Amish: For three years I lived among them in Garret County, western Maryland,, now they've come to enrich our lives in northern Waldo County, Maine. I just bought 1,500 square feet of metal roof made by an Amishman for our college barn, enough to do a large house -- for under $1,000. We're having an Amish Turkey to go with our Quaker potatoes and pumpkin today. All the Peace Church and Plain people are high in esteem and value in my mind, our own Quakers and Brethren together with the Amish and Mennonites.
Haggis the dog. He's never been a very good sheepdog, but he's a very intelligent and loyal friend.
Apples. We have so many of so many kinds and sheep and humans love to eat them. Maybe I can get Aimee to make apple dumplings before the weekend is out.
The Pittsburgh Steelers and England's Rugby International Team. Roethlisburger and Palamalu, Wilkinson and Moody.
Farm blogs. Every day my life is enriched a little more to see what is going on in SW England, on Raasay, in Oregon, and how much we have in common with smallholders and farmers all over the north.