The challenges facing many graduates this spring are certainly different from any previous generation. However, one graduate stands out in my mind as having challenges perhaps unlike any other teen in Linn County. Recently graduated from Meadville High School, Faton ?Tony? Neziri faces issues we can barely understand. Tony, whose home country is Kosovo, has spent this past year with host family, Don and Reita Brumbaugh of Laclede, and has become a valuable member of our church and community. He attends church regularly and is active in the youth group and in school activities. Immediately prior to his arrival in America, his uncle and brother were dragged from their homes, shot and killed. Now that Tony has spent so much time in America and given the level of hatred towards Americans, his parents and host family harbor a great concern for Tony?s safety as the time for him to return to Kosovo draws near. While Tony has dreams like other recently graduated teenagers, like becoming a pilot, an artist, or a professor, the dream of his parents is that he stays alive. Jessica was planning to show a registered South Poll heifer, which she named ?Penny,? this summer. The heifer was naturally quiet, so ?theoretically? it shouldn?t have taken long. We used alfalfa pellets for training since we are a forage-only outfit. However, today that came to a grinding halt. While training the heifer to stand tied, she got her leg wrapped in the rope, flopped her body around the tree and ?snap? went the leg; all in a matter of seconds. Too bad. It would be nice if life on the farm was all roses, but like any other occupation, the thorns are ever present. At last all the fleeces are washed, dried, bagged, and ready to spin or felt. Only one fleece will fit in my washer at a time, so times ten (Jessica kept out two to show), that?s a lot of hot, hot water. A minimum of 140 degrees is necessary and hotter is even better. What a blessing we have a gas water heater. Imagine heating all that water in a cauldron over a fire! Not to mention having to make the soap in advance, especially since it takes about 10 cups of liquid soap per load. No doubt there are places in the world where the fleeces are still washed by hand that way. Quite a storm we had in our area last week. Our homestead was undamaged, although we do have a lot of fence to fix or replace west of Linneus. However, the surrounding communities fared not so well. Homes and businesses were destroyed, but buildings and ?stuff? can be replaced. We must thank God that there were no serious injuries. The lettuce is ready to harvest and enjoy! This means mustard, dandelion, arugula, dill, and spinach are ready, too. Mixed Greens Salad Your choice of the following: Dark green lettuce leaves Dandelion leaves Mustard leaves Arugula (young leaves) Spinach Dill (young leaves) Kale Collards Broccoli (young leaves) Tear these leaves into bite-size pieces and mix together. Include the stems for extra crunch. (Nathan calls them the ?bones.?) Top with raw sunflower seeds, raw sesame seeds, and your favorite chopped nuts. Add your choice of salad dressing, but don?t use so much as to cover up the delicate and delicious blend of flavors. Salad Oil ? cup red wine ? cup olive oil (first press) 2 cloves garlic Whisk together vigorously. ?Beef? it up a bit by adding sliced hard-cooked farm fresh eggs and/or use about half the above recipe to marinate thinly sliced beef sirloin for 30 minutes up to overnight. Cook and cool. Use the remainder as dressing. Check out these and other recipes on the web site or e-mail me. Tauna Powell lives with her family near Laclede, Missouri. She can be reached at www.mastersranch.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Write to her at The Master?s Ranch, 19554 Fort Road, Laclede, MO 64651.