I just read Yevet Tenney's article in Progressive Dairyman entitled “Writing Your Memories In Advance”. It asked what kind of memories you would have as a senior citizen while you were sitting in your rocking chair looking back over your life. That got me to thinking about all the memories that Steve and I have made during our 16 years running the farm. There are a lot of really good ones. Seeing a newborn calf stand up for the first time. Watching that calf grow up to be a happy, healthy and productive member of our herd. Smelling new mown hay. Having a picnic lunch in the hayfield during harvesting time. Taking a leisurely walk in our woods and fields in between chores. Watching the wildlife that abounds on our farm. Attending fun, farm-related activities off the farm, such as an Allis Chalmers tractor convention in Ontario, Canada. But, unfortunately, there are many unpleasant memories as well. Repairing a broken gutter cleaner outside in winter’s below zero weather. Having to call the veterinarian when a cow got sick. Missing family functions because we could not get away from the farm. Trying to find farm help when Steve had his by-pass surgery and other such times when poor health in the family made it hard to continue running the farm. Times when low milk prices and high feed costs caused financial stress. And years where bad weather left us with a poor crop harvest. Usually the good memories outweighed the bad and we were very happy in our chosen way of life. Lately, however, the bad times seemed to be winning. So we decided that it was time to take a different path through the rest of our life and we retired from dairy farming. Now we are looking forward to doing many different, enjoyable, and memorable activities. Spending a lot more time with our family during holidays, weddings, and other gatherings. Being with friends for concerts, dinners, conversations, and other fun things. Roasting marshmallows over the fire on camping trips. Using our new camper to travel and sightsee throughout the US. And cold winter days when Steve and I stay warm and cozy in our house playing board games, watching a good movie or reading an interesting book. We will always have the wonderful, happy memories we created during our life running Fleury’s Maple Hill Farm. However, we hope that because of our decision to sell the herd, we will also be able to pile up many new and rewarding memories to sort through at the end of our days.