Thursday, January 31, 2008

Willow's Rest, Locks of Love, and Other Musings....

It occurred to me that folks may wonder "Why Willow's Rest?" Well, I wanted a farm name that honored the dog who basically led me into all this and that's Willow, the border collie whose photo graces the top of this blog. I got Willow through rescue, and my main plan for her was to be my jogging partner, a service she performed admirably. Another rescue followed (gee, if you have one border collie, why not have two?), and next thing I know someone suggested that I try my dogs on stock. Willow ended up being my first trial dog, and it's her I credit with all that followed, including finally being able to get my own sheep and all the working dogs that followed her. Willow is nearly 11 now and retired from stockwork. Her main job is being boss of everyone else, a job she takes quite seriously.

So back to the farm name. I knew it had to have Willow in it to honor Willow (and it doesn't hurt that the weeping willow is my favorite tree) and then I just needed to add something that made sense with her name. I thought about a lot of things that evoked a sense of farm and farming, but none were really pleasing to my ear. Then I remembered a neighbor we had growing up. She didn't have a farm, but had a lovely house overlooking the Potomac River, and to get to it, you had to cross a swinging footbridge. The sign at the turn in the driveway that went past our farm and led to her place was "Dauphin's Landing." Somehow that led me to Willow's Rest, which has multiple meanings for me. To me the farm is a relaxing place to be, and working with livestock is a peaceful pastime. The farm is where I can rest from the manic world--it's a balm to mind, body, and soul. And though I hate to think about it, I expect Willow, who is certainly in her golden years, will die on the farm and be laid to rest here. So Willow's Rest it is and always will be, no matter where we are physically, this place or another one on down the line....

And thinking of Becky's "Pay it Forward" challenge, I'd like to issue a challenge of sorts myself. I can't really take credit for coming up with this idea, but I am following through on it, so that counts for something! I was at the office a couple of weeks ago when my co-worker Cheryl Groves walked in. I commented on how long her hair has gotten, and she said "I'm growing it out so I can donate it to Locks of Love."

After that brief conversation, I couldn't get the idea our of my mind. I spoke to a friend of mine about it and she told me of a male co-worker of hers that grows his hair long and donates it every year. I figured something was prodding me in this direction, so I went to the Locks of Love website and read what they were all about and how I could donate.

Locks of Love makes hair prostheses for children with medical hair loss. Diagnosis doesn't matter--if the child has lost hair as the result of a medical condition, Locks of Love will produce a prosthesis for them. Way back when I used to work for the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association in Washington, DC, the association established a program called "Look Good, Feel Better" that was designed to help cancer patients deal with the changes brought about by radiation and chemotherapy. We all know that mental outlook can really affect both the coping and healing process, and it seemed logical that finding ways to help women look their best at such a trying time could only help. And clearly it did! So I am already a believer in the value of this sort of thing.

And today's the day I am donating my hair to Locks of Love. My hair has not been cut, short of trimming now and again, since I was a junior in college, some 25 years ago. I have kept it long all these years because it's just an easy way to deal with it--pull it back in a ponytail or french braid and it's out of the way! So this is a huge thing for me. My hair does not look good short, and never has. But in all honesty, most people don't really know what it looks like long, either, because it's almost always pulled back in some fashion.

My challenge to anyone who has hair long enough to donate to Locks of Love or a similar organization is to do it! It's a donation that won't cost you much in terms of actual dollars (just the cost of a haircut) but that will bring untold joy to some person whose medical condition has left him or her without hair. Looking at it that way, I really can't see a reason not to give away my hair. I hope others who might read this will think the same thing. I will post before and after photos later this week.

Last evening while treating sheep hooves, I decided to take my new little Flip camcorder out and try taping the pups working. While it wasn't a complete disaster, I did discover that I'm not so great at working a youngster and wielding a camcorder--even a tiny one--with any great effectiveness. I think it would be fine with a trained dog, but with the youngsters I found that I really do have to have my mind completely on what they're doing and not on trying to catch it on "tape" too. The part where Pip pushed the sheep onto me, which pushed me into the temporary catch pen, which then collapsed under our collective weight did make me laugh, although I wasn't laughing last night (and of course the little microphone caught very nicely all the blue language I used). If I figure out a way to edit out the cursing at the end, I'll post it somewhere for folks to see.

4 comments:

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

Well, that certainly is a Pay it Forward if I ever heard one! One of these days I will get brave enough to cut my hair (its taken me 20 years to grow it out half-way down my back!). My brother cut his hair a few years ago and donated it because a fellow worker was going through kemo, I thought it was great. I wish you could donate shorter hair, my son can grow one heck of a lot of hair, but I doubt I could talk him into letting it get that long :)
Thank you Julie

Julie said...

If I remember correctly, they will take donations of shorter hair. They can't use it to make the wigs (it's the same with grey hair), but they can sell it and use the money they get from the sale for "their" children.

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Hi, I followed the link from your comment on Becky's blog, and have already bookmarked your blog for further reading. I like what I've seen!

Julie said...

Thanks Michelle! I also visited and bookmarked your blog after seeing you at Becky's. I'm a very newbie blogger, but I sure have enjoyed reading what everyone else has to say! Now it means I have to be that much more disciplined when working at home so I don't spend all my time checking in with my cyber blog friends....