"A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise."
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 Letters – Summer 2006 Minimize

When Did You Get Your Last Tetanus Booster?
About That Organic Retirement Center …

When Did You Get Your Last Tetanus Booster?

Dear Editor:

While thinking about a fence relocation project at MOFGA, it occurred to me that the potential of injury could be quite high, such as cuts while handling wire, etc. I checked the Internet on “tetanus” and found that there are about 50 cases a year in the United States. Not really an impressive stat, unless you happen to be one of the fifty!

I read the description of the disease, also called “lockjaw,” and the symptoms are really frightening. The sources of infection are soil, animal manure and people who are infected. The disease can enter through very small breaks in the skin, as well as larger ones. The recommended re-immunization interval is 10 years, and that’s what caught me. I had major surgery just 10 years ago, and without question I received a tetanus shot then. I just returned from my doctor’s office with a slightly sore shoulder and a re-enlistment in the corps of tetanus-free organic gardeners.

I suppose it’s been discussed around organic circles, but I’d like to remind farmers and gardeners, who are certainly at risk, that they take reasonable precautions, such as careful hygiene and a relatively low-cost tetanus shot. After all, there aren’t that many of us, and we don’t want to lose anyone to something so easily preventable.

– John Bates, MOFGA Buildings and Grounds Committee Member, Thorndike, Maine

About That Organic Retirement Center …

Dear Editor:

I was delighted to read your editorial (March-May MOF&G), but you can’t imagine how thrilled I was when I got to the part about the Old Organic Farmer’s Home!! For the past few weeks, my thoughts have been fueled by a couple of articles I read in The New York Times. It began with a piece on a Boston group that has banded together to stay in their homes and have medical care. Then more recently an article about a commune in California entitled “Growing Old With Friends.”

After reading these articles, I thought, “What about a commune of farmers, with on-site medical (maybe a nursing student on a rotation from the College of Nursing at U. of Maine, but maybe a doctor in geriatrics and/or alternative medicine), a sauna, yoga studio and a fiber studio?” I think it would be fab!!

I really don’t think farmers want to leave their land completely when they get older. However, I’m sure that for many their farms are their retirement accounts. But what about downsizing to something smaller, say a cabin or small house with a few acres within a community, with the benefits of lower overhead and shared equipment? Maybe there could also be a section of apartments?

Then, once there is all of this accumulated agricultural knowledge in one place, what about a school to teach the agricultural arts? I am very interested in getting new farmers onto the land. Then with a school, there would be a ready pool of labor to help farmers!!

I attended the Fair last year and was blown away by the number of truly content people!! In three days, only two cross voices; everyone else was laughing and smiling!! Thousands of people!! Young men would walk by and say “Hello!” It must be something in the air!!

This all comes as I begin to think about retiring to a farm in Maine. The big question is will it be three years or nine? Hopefully it’ll be sooner than later!!

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this.

Best wishes,

– Connie Heird, Kingston, Rhode Island


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