Life In The Trenches Letter Home Essay Giveaway

Life In The Trenches : Letter Home

Dear Michael,

It has been quite some time since I have last written, the more I learn about this god forsaken war the less I want to discuss it, however I know you are sixteen now and may see it a duty to follow my footsteps. So I am taking the time to describe the theatrics of my life in the trenches and the daily occurrences. Firstly I must enquire on the home life, how is your brother and mother? Has the grieving process of father slowed, are they coping? Make sure you take good care of them Michael, keep the farm up and running and enjoy yourself at Christmas time.

The time spent at the Etaples base training camp was hard, the men began to realise what we were going to face, and the Bull ring training, created to prepare us for time in the trenches was nothing like the horrors I face daily. After the training I was sent to the western front, I had made several close acquaintances but evidently we were split up.

Life in the trenches is hard, they require constant maintenance, sandbags need to be refilled and stacked, new duckboards placed to aid against trench foot. So much time is spent around waiting for a battle, in the lonely boring times my friends and I play cards, or dice. Bill is especially good at poker, he is my closest friend out here, and he seems to be coping better as he is older and seen a lot more than myself. One night I awoke to him sobbing, we shared a friendly conversation on the toll this fighting takes on us, he changes his socks only one time a day, two is recommended to stop trench foot.

Speaking on trench foot, my close friend Mark was sent home with a severe case and is requiring amputation. Michael I want you to sit there read this and picture what I tell you, imagine men shouting as fighting breaks out, the rain is flooding the trenches and you're knee deep in it. Your whole body is shaking and you aren't sure if it's from the freezing cold or the fear of the enemy. The trench floors are made up of clay and sand on top, when it rains water is unable to pass through and the trenches flood, craters from shell fire fill then flood the trenches more. Suddenly a noise whistles and gas is released into the trench, men collapse all around as you're handkerchief is dampened in urine and placed around you're mouth to combat the gas. Nights are restless, uncomfortable sleeping quarters, weather conditions; there is no dreaming as nightmares are lived both awake and asleep. Constant itching...

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If you've ever dreamed of owning your own patch of land and a successful home-grown business then a 200-word essay and $150 is all is could take for it to become a reality.

Paul and Leslie Spell, of Humble Heart Farms in Elkmont, Alabama, are giving away their goat cheese farm - complete with their house, 20 acres of land, 56 goats, cheese-making equipment, recipes and even a dog - to the person who writes the best essay about why they should run it.

It will cost entrants just $150 to apply and, with an expected 2,500 applications, the couple say the fees will pay off the rest of their mortgage and leave $20,000 in operating funds for the new owner.

'It's for real,' Paul Spell told AL.com. 'We've had a pretty successful run here and I thought it was time for us to go help someone else.'

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Once in a lifetime chance: Paul and Leslie Spell, of Humble Heart Farms in Elkmont, Alabama, are giving away their debt-free goat farm to the person who writes the best 200-word essay

They could be yours: The couple will give the new owners all of their animals, including more than 50 goats

New pet? They say they are also including their devoted herding dog, pictured, in the giveaway

The couple, who have a 14-year-old son, want to hand over the farm so that they can move to Costa Rica, where they intend to help missionary friends set up goat farms.

They had tried to sell the property, which they say is worth around $350,000, the conventional way but found that the price was too steep for the people who wanted it the most. After all their hard work, they did not want the farm to fall into heavy debt, they said.

Then they read about Janice Sage, the owner of an inn in Maine, who said she would be giving away her business to the winner of an essay contest so that she could retire. Sage had won the property the same way two decades ago.

'When we heard that we thought what an incredible way to be able to extend out what we started but really get the right people,' Mrs Spell told WAFF.

They say they have had some set-backs over the years, but now the farm is operating successfully. It produces different varieties of flavored cheeses and carries out farm tours for families.

New home: The prize includes the couple's three-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom home on the 20-acre land

Inside: The couple will use the money from the $150 entrance fee to pay off the rest of their mortgage

Cosy: The three-bedroom home, where they have brought up their 14-year-old son, is 1500 square foot

Home: The kitchen of the home is pictured; the couple estimates the entire farm is worth $350,000

The prize includes a three-bedroom home and debt-free farm on 20 acres, a milking room, a cheese plant, equipment, $20,000 to help operating costs and the animals - 55 female goats, a male goat and a herding dog, according to the competition's website.

And the couple says the winner does not have to have a background in goat farming or cheese production because they will give them all the training they need.

'We're looking for enthusiasm,' Mr Spell said. 'We're looking for people who want to do it.' 

Those interested can find rules and entry forms on the couple's website or Facebook page, but they warn that applicants should not contact them directly because it could jeopardize their chances of winning.

Home: Leslie, pictured, and her husband want to leave the farm so they can carry out missionary work

Equipment: They will be giving away all of the farm's equipment and will show the new owner how to use it

Production line: The farm produces all-natural cheese from its animals and sells it at farmers' markets

Put to work: They warned that running the goat farm is a complete lifestyle rather than a 9 to 5 job

Final product: They will teach the new owners how to make the cheese and will hand over their recipes

'Take a moment and jot down why you or your organization is the perfect fit to continue the farmstead goat cheese tradition,' the competition reads. 

The contest opens on Friday and the winner's name will be announced on October 15.

Alabama has a gambling law against games of chance but because the contest requires an essay, the winner will be picked on skill, rather than chance. 

Sage, the owner of the inn in Maine, will announce her winner after May 17.

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