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By   /  August 26, 2013  /  4 Comments

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Grandma QuotesA few weeks ago I received a diagnosis that rocked my world, but not in the good way. This sort of event is bound to happen in our lives, either to ourselves or to loved ones. Even knowing the “normalness” of this earthshaking experience doesn’t seem to lessen its hold on me.

Instead, I have taken up my illness as a new hobby. Now I meet people who hand me stacks of paperwork on clipboards, often with a pen on a silver chain. How many times will I write out my name and address before this is all over? How glad am I as I write that my street name is relatively short?

Nurses usher me into back rooms, where gowns await. Paper crinkles on the exam table. The air conditioning is inevitably set to “Arctic”.

Needles poke, fingers prod. Test results come in, some good, some less so. With gauze and medical tape on my arm, I write to tell you, I am still here.

I am still a part of On Pasture. I will still explore, learn, and write. But, the truth is, not as much over the next few months. I’ll be dealing with this new hobby, this gauntlet my body has thrown down to me.

I’ll be here  as much as I can while I’m recuperating, bringing my laptop on this journey. My silver laptop will also be a lifeline to the world of pre-hobby sanity and to all of you.

Stay well, and enjoy your life.


Editor’s Note:  We’re not trying to hide something by not sharing the details of Rachel’s diagnosis.  But she has young children and we want to protect them.

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  • Published: 8 years ago on August 26, 2013
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  • Last Modified: September 20, 2013 @ 12:21 pm
  • Filed Under: The Scoop

About the author

Author and editor emeritus

Rachel's interest in sustainable agriculture and grazing has deep roots in the soil. She's been following that passion around the world, working on an ancient Nabatean farm in the Negev, and with farmers in West Africa's Niger. After returning to the US, Rachel received her M.S. and Ph.D. in agronomy and soil science from the University of Maryland. For her doctoral research, Rachel spent 3 years working with Maryland dairy farmers using management intensive grazing. She then began her work with grass farmers, a source of joy and a journey of discovery.


  1. Valerie says:

    Very sorry you’re not feeling well. I’ve enjoyed your articles for about a year now. A quote from a book just popped up in my head: “All waiting rooms were essentially the same, not really places in themselves as much a rehersals for purgatory.” – Maggie Shipstead. Good luck getting though all of the tedium and I hope you feel better.

  2. pat&melanie harrison says:

    Dear Rachel: Melanie and I have you in our thoughts as you go forward.We have always admired your spirit.You have a standing invitation to stop in when you’re up our way.Best wishes Pat&Melanie.

  3. pat&melanie harrison says:

    Dear Rachel: Melanie and I our thinking of you and wishing you the best.We miss seeing you . You’re always welcome to stop in .We’ve always admired your spirit.

  4. Troy Bishopp says:

    Rachel, Our thoughts are with you as you conquer “your ailment” because its a temporary setback for the great life ahead of you. It’ll be hard and you will have “those days, Marge”. You can call anytime and ramble as your sense of humor will get you through this. We got your back women. GW:)

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