I wake up most mornings crusty-eyed and in the doldrums. I stumble to the coffee pot, pour a cup, and then stumble back to bed. My routine includes laying there as long as necessary sipping. Powered by Maxwell House, I gradually "percolate" and face south like a sunflower. Our view of the meadows and mountains is magnificent. This morning, a skimming of fresh snow highlights Tommy's beef cows as they group and chow down at their circular hay feeder. Beyond them is a field of Balsam Christmas trees planted in straight rows and promising financial rewards in about five years. Both the cows and the trees are part of a new generation at Morse Farm…a new generation of hope.
Many of my contemporaries are facing both old age and the extinction of their farms but I have a son to carry on. He came to me years ago wanting to join on here. We went for a walk in the woods where I used words like "hard life", "bills to pay", and "commitment". It was summertime and as we walked under the canopy of new maple leaves he stayed by my side, listening, hearing, soul searching. When we reached the end of the woods and came out into a clearing, he pointed…"that's where the new Christmas trees will grow and I want to start a small herd of beef cows". In those words, I had my answer.
Now, ten years later, he's tubing up a new maple sugarbush over in the next town. We both saw the handwriting on the wall: a farm with both the man and the maples growing old…branch out young man, branch out… and he's doing just that.
As I sit here writing this cold November day, my old dog Averill lies on the floor nearby. That same floor was recently littered with books and toys late one Saturday night, accoutrements of our 22-month-old granddaughter Caitrin. Cait, our only grandchild, is the light of our lives and we always relish babysitting for her. Betsy spends every Monday with her and in their almost two years together, they have developed a special relationship. Cait views her "Baabaa" as provider of unique toys, games, and music but Baabaa's home is no place for sleep! That Saturday night, Cait was still up at 10:00, rubbing her eyes and drowsy but unwilling to give in to the sandman. I, loved by her but still given "wide berth", sprawled in our La-Z-Boy providing moral support in a tired way for Betsy. About 10:30, Cait approached me with her arms raised…"up Boo" (yup, I'm "Boo" and I love it). I picked her up and she settled into my lap. She sat, still resisting, but the angle of her tilt gradually increased. By 10:45, she was nuzzled firmly against my chest, sound asleep.
Cait and I stayed like that until 1:00 when Tommy and his wife Monika crept in. "Sorry we're so late" Tom said as he gently lifted Cait off but no apology was necessary…that little girl, my granddaughter, had finally placed her trust in me. One word kept coming to mind, "perfect" and it keeps coming back as memories of that momentous evening return. It's just perfect to have the new additions to our farm "blossoming" before my eyes. It not only allows me to step aside one of these days and do some fishing and maybe even learn to play golf but it keeps this "patch of land" open and thriving into the future. Who knows, maybe Caitrin Morse will be take over for her dad Tommy one day…a new generation of hope.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
PS: As you all know, I spend a lot of time writing News from Vermont and so many of you reward me with wonderful comments and friendship. Over the years, I have made a lot of friends from all over the world and that is such a blessing! Another part of News from Vermont that's important is the "business" part. We need to do business in order to keep things "movin' along" here at Morse Farm. I hope you all will take a trip to morsefarm.com, check out the great selection of Pure Maple Products, Balsam Wreaths, and Gift Combinations….'tis the season! How about sending something Morse Farm Maple to your loved ones? We're here packing things every day we'd love to "put your name" on one of those boxes. Just go to morsefarm.com, call 1-800-242-2740, or fax 1-802-223-7450.
and the Morse Farm family.