5:56 AM

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Early to bed and early to rise,

Makes a man or woman healthy, wealthy and wise!

Where in the world did that come from?

A childhood of memorizing old sayings, dredged up from a distant past.  Memories of our local school where we repeated all of the familiar passages from our books until we knew them by heart.  No TV, no internet, no phones for us.  We relied on our reading and studying for everything we learned.

Now altho I have a big digital  clock shining its message in the early morning light I have a built in alarm clock in my head. No matter where I am, north or south, in my own bed or traveling somewhere, I wake up.  It’s Sunday morning here, the one day you would think I’d sleep in, but NO!  I’m awake and I’ve had enough sleep.  Seven hours this time because I stayed up, immersed in a great book, that I just had to finish.

Not only that but I am retired, I don’t have to get up. I could lie here as long as I’d like. No children calling out, no pets needing to be let outdoors, just me, knowing it is time for me to get out of bed. Looking out the window I see the orchard rows, and they are white! It’s May 15th, and we have snow on the ground. This is not good.  The orchards are in full blossom, and they definitely do not need the cold weather.

My mind leaps from one scattered idea to another. I must make the coffee, but I also must write down the words swirling in my head. I search for my notepad and pen, and ah, I am safe. Reassured, all is well.

I am up, it is early in the morning.  I feel the urge to write, and I know the snow will melt eventually. The deck is white now, but it will soon be brown again. I am ready for a new day.  It lies before me, I can do whatever I choose to do, and since I got up early I have plenty of time to do it.

Mornings are beautiful, especially in the country, and I don’t want to waste a single one of them. Come and join the early risers in your life, and you’ll be glad you did.

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SUMMER IN MICHIGAN

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Lake Michigan at its absolute best
Yes, it is summer, and yes, it is the 4th of July, one of the constants in our lives. Supposed to be hot, but until today that has not happened here in Hart, Michigan. The cherries are turning red, we can see the green and tiny apples starting to appear on the dwarf fruit trees, and another wonderful season is upon us. There is no place like Michigan in the summer and fall. Miles upon miles of fruit trees in every direction, fruit stands wherever you look, and the Farmers Markets are in full bloom. We are blessed with a climate here that brings forth almost every kind of fruit you can imagine. When we were in full swing on our farm we had 25 different apple varieties, seven kinds of peaches, 3 kinds of pears, plums and apricots that you would die for. Waiting for the exact time to pick the fruit when it was at its perfect flavor and beautiful coloring, we would walk the orchards every evening, exulting in the perfection of it all.
Today we smile at it all, and remember. It is a wonderful thing to have spent your entire life raising fruit in order to make people happy, and that is what my husband has done. I am dedicating this day to him, Bob Rider, and to all of the people including our children who worked on our farms and sold fruit at our Farmers Market. As I speak he is out on his riding mower, making our lawn look as great as his farms have always done. Well done, Bob Rider.

THE APPLE

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Today I bought an apple.
It was a bright and shiny apple.
As I sunk my teeth into the firm white flesh,
I thought about how it got here.

First there was God.
Then there was the Farmer,
Then there was the State Horticultural Agent,
Then there was the nursery that grew the young tree,
Then there was the spraying and pesticides agent,
Then there was the picker,
Then there was the trucker to the processing plant,
Then there was the worker who washed
And preserved and boxed the fruit,
Then there was the trucker who hauled it to the store,
Then there were the store employees,
The planners,
The investors,
The bookkeepers,
The warehouse workers,
The stock boys,
The maintenance workers,
The greeters,
The clerks,
The checkers,
The carry out persons,

And now there is Me,
Enjoying the Apple,
Red or green, tart or sweet,
Knowing that we are all working together.

Thank you, God!