9.21.2014

Letter, April 16, 1975

Dear Dad, Mom & all,

Dad’s writing is definitely improving, there wasn’t a single word I had to guess at this time (only kidding)! I was happy to hear about your four heifers {female new-born calves} finally breaking the rotten string of luck you’ve been having with calves ever since I left. That calf of Lisa’s out of 239 {Lisa was one of Dad’s best cows at the time, and 239 refers to a bull’s identification number at the artificial insemination co-op Dad was using.} should tell you if he’s any good or not! I guess all your luck isn’t good though, it has to hurt losing Eva after she finally had a good year milking last year.

Thanks for the test sheet {meaning a Dairy Herd Improvement or DHI document showing the milk production of Dad’s cows}! I am pretty impressed with the performances of some of the cows. I’m afraid all those two-year-olds just starting out will start pulling it down soon though. Belle {my former 4-H project calf, now a mature cow} had quite a year for herself with 14,861 lbs. milk and 632 lbs. {butter} fat in less than 300 days. That might be the best year of her life! The sheet says she’s due April 1 so be sure to let me know what kind of a calf she has. Hope it’s a heifer, since the old girl might not last long enough to have another one!

You all complain about the late spring, but I think it may be a blessing in disguise since it’s giving Dad time to rest up from his operation. Nothing could make him take it easy if the land was ready to work. We are having a “late spring” of sorts too since it is still dry as a bone & farmers can’t plant until the rains start coming with some regularity.

I may be changing jobs. The head of Peace Corps agriculture programs in El Salvador & I are meeting with my bosses tomorrow to decide whether it’s worthwhile keeping me in my present job or not. I want to change. I have been here 6 months and not done much of anything on this job. I’m afraid though that if I switch jobs I’ll have 1-2 months of idleness before I get going on a new job. The government people love to have big meetings & discuss things thoroughly, but when it comes to defining a job & getting down to work they don’t follow through. I think I’d be better off in a job less dependent on government support, since then I could work on my own initiative & if I was idle it would be my own fault.

I had forgotten all about that plant until Mom mentioned it, I’ve even forgotten its name (streptocarpus?). I’m glad to hear it’s still around & healthy.

Jan says Donna bought a guitar. That makes two of us. I can already more or less play Skip to my Lou & The Old Chisolm Trail, though I only can switch between 2 chords with any vague resemblance of speed. My guitar has wire strings & they’re murder on the fingers at first. Hope you were smart enough to get nylon ones Donna!

Well, in closing, I hope the legislature doesn’t cut the U.W.’s budget too much, because if it does Bruce might have to go to Stevens Point & I hear the beer is terrible up there (Point Special)! Anyway, I’m happy you are all so busy up there. My idleness is bound to make either a philosopher or a bum out of me & I haven’t done anything worthy of a philosopher yet!

Dean

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