I accumulate a bushel of miles every month at work, while covering my four county, central Minnesota territory. Occasionally I encounter an abandoned homestead. The windows are gone, the clapboard siding is weather-checked and gray, patches of cedar shingles have blown from the rooftop. Often, the yard is overgrown with brush . . . and the barn roof sags in the middle, showing signs of carrying the times. Sometimes, remnants of lace curtains dance in the breeze, gently swaying in and out of the window openings – bearing witness to the loving touch of a farm-wife of so long ago. If one observes closely, you may see time travelers – flowers still blooming . . . surrounding by love the domain of the lady of the house. The delicate Forget-Me-Nots beckon. The scene speaks. Who were they? What was their life? How many children and grandchildren began every important thing upon this hallowed ground?
The farm fields around the five acre homestead are groomed and planted – rock piles and rock walls periodically positioned between the fields. They stand as a testament to decades and generations of rigorous toil upon the land. Picking rocks, bailing hay, milking cows, tending chickens, and manuring out the barn were all rites of passage for every youth that moved and breathed here. Now, a new generation abides as stewards of the land – they stand on fields prepared for them . . . a legacy.
I contemplate whether the old house and barn could be resurrected, brought back by some young, motivated couple, to begin life here once again. It would take special people with a deep and abiding love of the land. I know how much work, and money, the project would require. My wife and I reclaimed two old farmsteads throughout our marriage. I never regretted a moment of the task. As I pass by on the country road, I hope some young couple will see what I see and take hold of their own dream.
Everything can have a greater meaning. Sometimes, our own life can appear to us like an abandoned house. Our paint jobs-ajar, our roof-top needs repair. The cold seems to blow right through us . . . chilling bone and marrow. We feel isolated – the sunshine has left us, we feel unkempt and overtaken. At times it is hard to look forward to even one good thing. The good news is that we never have to remain in a dark and somber place. Life is good, God is good, and you can renovate. Life can begin a-new, you can be good as new. It will take some work. It will take some effort . . . to begin with you need to decide to begin. Remember this . . . you are more important than any house that was ever built . . . you can start your own legacy.
If Tri-CAP can help you begin, through our many family oriented programs, we will be waiting for your call.
Energy tips for the month:
If you use the old style incandescent light bulbs, switch to CFL’s or LED’s. In the winter, open the drapes during the day and close them at night. Let the sunshine help heat your house. Instead of turning up the thermostat, wear a sweater and use a blanket. Fix leaky faucets or toilets right away, don’t wait – it’s your money going down the drain. Wash full loads of clothes and full loads of dishes. Plan out your shopping trips for the week and do all of your marketing during the same trip to town. This will save you gas and extend the life of your car. Change your furnace filter every month, and get a clean and tune on your furnace every two years (every year if you use fuel oil). Install a programmable thermostat.
December 2017 Blog
Written by Stephen Bjorklund