Prudy Burt sent me this little poem. She said it came on a mug that Heidi Schmidt brought her from England.

Let the wealthy and great

Roll in splendour and state

I envy them not. I declare it

I eat my own lamb

My own chicken and ham

I shear my own fleece and I wear it

I have lawns I have bowers

I have fruits I have flowers

The lark is my morning alarmer

So jolly boys now

Here’s God speed the plough

Long life and success to the farmer.

Spring has, indeed, sprung. I swear, my early crocuses all bloomed in a matter of minutes last week. The really exciting part was they were covered with my own honey bees. Both of my hives were buzzing around cleaning out their living quarters. Crocus are their first and, I like to think, favorite food. One of my hives needs another hive body — a second story, if you will. I need to hammer some frames together this week in my spare time — as if.

I admit I don’t even care as much about the honey as having bees around the place for pollination. It may be a childhood memory. My grandparents, Kate and Bill Irons, let an old man use their property to set out a good amount of hives. I remember when bears tore them apart. I always felt sorry for the bees.

Bears were a nuisance with which we learned to live. They wrecked bird feeders, got into the trash, climbed and lounged in the old apple tree at midday. Our parents were always on alert to warn us children.

I sprinkled some leftover seeds from last year outside using the caution-to-the-wind method. Corn poppies, bachelor buttons, larkspur, and even alyssum usually come around in a month or so. The key, of course, is to recognize the baby seedlings when starting the early weeding.

I finally broke down and purchased a new washer. I had been using my old top-loader way past its prime. My previous one was a wringer-type, but that is another story. I was persuaded to get a front-loading by the difference in water usage. Forty-eight gallons as opposed to 17. Isn’t that incredible? I know it is true as my last wash in my old one needed to be filled from the bathtub with gallon jugs. Thank God. I am usually amused by my various misfortunes.

I cannot put it off. I have to disrespect Wal-Mart. I read the Charles Fishman book, The Wal-Mart Effect and cannot get it out of my head. Never mind they have terrible worker’s rights records, kill little stores, and literally own their suppliers. I can’t get past their lack of global integrity.

A study was done about poverty rates in areas that Wal-Mart took over. It was discovered (not easily, as Wal-Mart is very secretive about its data) that, across the board, towns with Wal-Marts got poorer every year. We are literally shopping ourselves into the poorhouse.

The Third World women and children who now make goods for Wal-Mart work under horrific conditions. Morally, I cannot afford to save money on the backs of little children. The illustration above was done by Seniel Seward several years ago when she was a mere teenager. It gives me hope for our young.