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Egg nog in the morning

Its 11:30 a.m. Christmas Eve and I just started on the egg nog; drinking it, that is. In sinc with our Polk County keep it local, the egg nog is made with local fresh eggs and raw milk. The sugar is unprocessed fair trade sugar, and the bourbon is from Kentucky (procured locally from Uncle Mosss liquor closet).

Yesterday, I heard women talking about having to get things done in time for Christmas morning and I spoke ever so loftily about how those little things dont really matter, that it is better to forget all those things that our mothers told us should be done to get ready for Christmas, or what media tells us will make this Christmas the most memorable Christmas ever. Yet last night I got up in the middle of the night to write my MUST DO list, and this morning I was baking gift cookies before breakfast.

Believe it or not, drinking spiked egg nog and writing this column before noon was not on the MUST DO list.

Even though I have spent years trying to concentrate my energies on what is really important rather than on non-consequential details, I get sucked into stress just like everyone else. It seems like women get more stressed out at Christmastime than men; yet, why is that? Is it that women tend to take care of the details more while men focus more on the big stuff, like making money so us women can dither around spending it on details? Is it because women set the scene for a traditional holiday in the home? As long as we have a warm and dry house, us women can make it a home, and we do a damn good job of it too! Maybe a little bit of stress is simply the price we pay; which is fine so long as it is a little bit of stress. Theres always egg nog to smoothe out those last few snags.

There is a reason for this stream of consciousness being part of&bsp; this conservation corner. It has to do with who does what, and whose responsibility it is to take care of certain things. The different roles of men versus women at Christmastime has clarified for me some thoughts, and problems, that have been bugging my small mind for weeks, or even months. It has to do with the nature park that Saluda Community Land Trust (SCLT) and the City of Saluda, with help from the Bradley Foundation of the Polk County Community Foundation are making out of the old Saluda dump. The actual dump site was officially capped in 1990, overseen by the EPA.

Although the capped site is less than 2 acres, the land owned by the city around the dump is 18 acres. It has a lovely stream going through it, a nice view, its a great greenway place right at the edge of the city limits, and it is covered with kudzu. Thanks to the City of Saluda and a grant from the Bradley Foundation, SCLT has enough money to buy fencing materials to isolate the capped dump site (to keep kudzu eating goats in and nosey people out), but the work will need to be done by volunteers. Back in the olden days when there was more money floating around (like, maybe, two years ago), SCLT could have paid a fencing contractor to do it. But money is tight; its a different ball game.

Fencing is not womens work, but unfortunately its women who are the majority on non-profit boards and church committees, including the SCLT Board.&bsp; And do you blame the men for not wanting to be on a board where a bunch of women discuss detail after detail, and strategize as to what needs to be done in what order, and how, and who should do it? Back to what I said in the beginning, women can do everything we need to do so long as our men provide us with the money to do it. But now money is tight; the rules are changed.

Our environmental problems, from the dump to kudzu to streambank erosion to loss of farmland, are problems brought about by that mindset: just go out and make the money honey and well take care of the details.

Our men, and our work ethic, are part of the problem and must be part of the solution. Conservation professionals are not much better than the women dominated boards: they can stategize what needs to be done, when, and by whom; but they do not get out and actually do the work. They want to be paid.

Now, maybe thats the heart of this issue. Maybe men are used to being paid for what they do, and women are used to working for free because thats what mothers and homemakers do. Men were paid to create the dump, and men were paid to haul trash there, and workers were paid to cover the capped dump site with kudzu infested dirt. But theres no one around to pay anyone to clean up the mess left behind. Soil and trees have no money to pay anyone to take away the kudzu so they can breathe again.

Men, the earth needs you. Yet the earth has no money to pay for your work. Your labor would have to be a gift. Thats why Jesus came in the first place. It was a gift, to us, who could not pay for all that He did. All we can do is be grateful, give thanks, and give back what we can. As you do unto the least of these, you do unto me.~ One on One written by D.G.Martin