A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Getting Limber for Lumber

Well finally got outside and actually accomplished something, with the snow packed down a little but temps dropping back down to -10 overnight its now possible to get back in the bush without needing snowshoes or being up to your knees in the white crap.
So with my lumber supply dwindled down to scraps I figure I need to get some more pine sawn this year for all those 'Honey Do” and “Dad can you....” projects and to rebuild the back porch that did no survive the avalanche of snow and ice from the house roof when things finally warmed up.

With the sun out and it warming to -5 it was a good day to go and cut some pines, there is little time before the sap rises and once that happens the wood will be stained with a blue/grey left over from the excessive sap once dried. Does not hurt the wood so far as I can see and still usable if being painted but not good for fancy projects or natural staining. The next thing is to get the logs sawn by early June before the Pine Sawyer lays its eggs under the bark and their larva starts to chew the hell out of the wood. These grub are voracious, you can hear then chewing from 15 feet away and after a few day can see the pile of sawdust under the log or tree they have attached. Its a good job they will only lay their eggs on 'dead pines', those that the bark has started to peel so far as I can see, but with any cut log laying past June for any time its taking a chance on it being scrap if not sawn or bark removed.

So we got a few cut, some even fell over (always a problem when selectively cutting in a closely planted pine plantation), none trimmed or cut to length but once cut there is no rush for that. We may even cut a few more Tuesday when its forecast to be a mite warmer, I don’t really need a whole bunch more wood but so long as we are bringing in the sawmill may as well make it worthwhile. Now just got to figure out what size lumber I meed, will be mostly 1” boards but should cut a few 1 1/2” planks and possibly 3/4 for smaller jobs, whatever I cut will not be what I need next year when its ready so its all a guessing game eh.

But it was good to get out and DO something even if the old bones are now telling me that its going to be a while before I am back into summer “working” mode!

Here's to an early spring and a super summer..... Cheers!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Join the National Day of Action Against Bill C-51

Elizabeth May was the first MP to stand up against the Harper government's so-called “anti-terror bill,” which does nothing to improve national security, and is likely unconstitutional.
Join Elizabeth and thousands of other Canadians this Saturday at the National Day of Action To Stop The Secret Police Bill.
Rallies are being organized all across the country.
This Saturday, stand with Elizabeth May in rejecting this dangerous, vague and invasive new legislation.

Defend our Freedom Day of Action: City Hall (Owen Sound)
When: Saturday, March 14th, 2015 at 12:00pm
Where: 808 2nd Ave E, Owen Sound, Onatario 

To find a Rally near you go to http://we.leadnow.ca/stopc51

For more information see

Harper’s police state law

Friday, March 6, 2015

Signs of Spring?

Forsythia Buds - Mar 6 2015

Its been a long cold winter the proof of which many urban folks are being made well aware off with water mains freezing up and others being told to run their taps full time in order to prevent further loss of supply. Here out in the 'boonies' we have our own private well system and thus far it has not frozen despite the recent -20 temperatures, perhaps my failure to clear the snow back to the barn has helped insulate the pipe which runs under that area. There was much less snow this year than last but with no real thaws there is still a good 18” on the ground, I hope it also insulates the perennials out in the garden because the plants in the (largely unheated) greenhouse sure took a hit.

Even as the weather folks say its going to be a late and cool spring I am more optimistic on the days that the sun comes out, it seems like forever since we got a few sunny days. There sure were not many since I last wrote about a sunny day lifting my spirits! The last couple of days have further given me hope as we heard a Cardinal singing and a squirrel emerged and was running around giving our dog Nikki something to chase to work off her spring fever. Those weather forecasters are telling us we will have THREE DAYS in a row with temps ABOVE FREEZING next week, this after almost two months without any kind of thaw! Could this be the start of spring, I sure hope so.

So with the sun out and some small indications that warmer time are coming I feel much better......... till I look out the window and see the ladder up against the house as a reminder to get out and remove the snow and ice from the roof where it is creating an 'ice dam' that will create problems when (if) that partial thaw happens next week. Ah well you cant win them all but at least the race is taking place in SUNLIGHT!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Sunny out...the future not so much!

Its been a while since I wrote anything on this my personal blog having been busy assembling a series of articles detailing the demise of our democracy under the Harper Regime for my Democracy Under Fire blog. Needless to say this is a very depressing undertaking and the almost unrelenting snow and lack of sunlight in recent weeks has not helped so its a real lift to have several bright sunny days this week to brighten my mood.

Following Canadian politics is in itself a depressing undertaking and I very much understand why so many folks are turned off by it and are not up on what our 'leaders' (and I use that term very loosely) are up to, other that the few snippets we see on the nightly news. Having been writing about our democracy deficit for more than 5 years now I can only say that if you care about Canada then you had best start taking notice over the next few months, for the rhetoric emerging from most of the political parties is going to get hard to ignore. That much of it will be total BS and just be a vehicle to try and 'buy' you votes should be a given, not the least of which is the latest assertion by the Cons that there will be a budget surplus at election time.

Regular readers will know that I am a Green supporter, mostly for my admiration of Ms May's ongoing efforts to protect and enhance our parliamentary democracy, but also in that I can find little in their published Vision that I can find serious disagreement with. Unfortunately the best that can be expected for the Greens is a few more seats in the HoC with perhaps the balance of power in a minority government, both of which outcomes would be a good thing IMHO. Locally there is little chance that they will have any meaningful impact other than possibly splitting the vote, this outcome is further supported by the announcement of the resignation of the local EDA president. According to the election results both federal and provincial Green support in Grey Bruce has been steadily declining since the high achieved in the 2008 federal election where they received some 13,000 votes and came in a strong 2nd. In the last federal election some 5000 folks voted Green here but getting any of them to actually directly support the local EDA, stand for office, become or seek a candidate, or otherwise become directly involved is like trying to get blood from a stone.

Whilst it may not be popular amongst my fellow Greens and given that the Cons have such a strangle hold on this riding I am going to advocate for not running a Green candidate here in the Oct election but encourage citizens to vote for the candidate most likely to defeat the Conservative candidate. Local Greens should be encouraged to support the national campaign and those green candidates in other ridings where getting elected is a real possibility. (I note here that we are supposed to assess for the candidate on his individual strengths or weaknesses however such things have become meaningless under the top down governance and strict adherence to party lines required by the current regime.) This is the strategy advocated by Lead Now who are compiling a list of those riding where such strategic voting may have an impact. I doubt whether GBOS will be on that list given that in the last federal election the Conservatives in this area received more votes than all other partys combined, mind you with 27,000 not bothering to vote anything is possible if folks take a greater interest in our future.

When I started writing this I was trying to be positive and find some optimism, guess that didn’t work, now I’m depressed again ..... time to go out and let that sunlight do its work despite the cold!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Longer Days, Brighter Nights

Most of us know that after the Winter Solstice on December 21st the days gradually get longer and sunset becomes a little later each day, but how many of you knew that only now does the sun start to RISE earlier. If we look at the sun rise and sun set tables we will see that over the next week sunset time go from 4.48 pm to 4.43 pm but sunrise time are stuck at 7.51 !!

This is apparently due to the earths 'wobble' but irregardless of the cause its good to know that shortly the sun WILL be rising a little earlier and we are on the way to spring. Unfortunately before the sun warms us up enough to make us get the gardening itch and look for spring buds we have a few months of Canadian winter to deal with.

Here's wishing for an 'open' winter and an early spring, may 2015 be a 'sunny' year, in every sense of the word, for you and indeed for Canada and all Canadians.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Vets “Permitted” to give Rabies Shots.

According to an article in the Ontario Farmer the Collage of Veterinarians or Ontario (CVO) now PERMITS Vets to administer Rabies shots to dogs that are not '”regular clients”. Those of us who own dogs and are out in the country where rabies can be more of a problem know that the longstanding annual rabies clinics, whereby owners could have their dogs vaccinated quickly and inexpensively, have been discontinued a few years ago apparently due to the Vets or the CVO 'regulations. The article says that the vets were permitted to administer such shots at a clinic at a fire hall or “non accredited facility” but until now not at their own practice unless the dog was “a regular client” (this despite it being common practice for years).
Sounds totally bizarre to me, but now they are “permitted” to do so, whether or not this will mean the reinstatement of those regular rabies clinics which so may dog owners, who would otherwise not not bother, took their dogs to remains unclear.

Nor it is clear if those 'non regulars' will be charged for a full examination or will be able to just get their animal given the shot at nominal cost (it used to be $20 or $25) or the $150 or so that almost any Vet charges for a typical visit. I note also that the “rabies program” was downloaded from the Feds to the Province about 18 months ago but despite it being legislated that “all cats and dogs must be vaccinated against rabies by age 3 months” neither level of government (or the CVO) seems much interest in providing an inexpensive way in which to encourage owners to get this done.

I do hope that this change in the “rules” will mean that next year ALL veterinary operations (both small and large animal) will participate in a 'rabies clinic day' where owners can get this important public health program carried out at reasonable cost.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

An Economic Fable

Once upon a time there was a family who lived in a large mansion with many rooms and a huge mortgage. The father made all the decisions as to the upkeep of the house and the health and welfare of the family members who were all expected to contribute towards the funds needed for all to live in the house. Although in the past the contribution from the family members exceeded the expenses and resulted in having some savings in the bank no payments on the mortgage were made and the bank account was raided for foolish spending. Unfortunately over the next few years many of the family lost their jobs or were reduced to working part time and were unable to pay their full share, this resulted in the father saying that he must cut down on the maintenance of the house and everybody would have to have smaller lunches to save money. Everyone except himself and his favourite cousins that is.

When the gardener said that the manure run off was getting into the well he was fired, when the cook said that she needed to know how many folks there were in each room in order to distribute the food fairly she was told 'you dont need to know that', when the cleaners tried to tell the residents about the toxic chemicals being used they were told shut up or be fired. If fact all the workers were told to not talk to the residents and that all information about the household must be approved by father and those who failed to do that would be kicked out in the cold. This was particularly true of anyone who questioned his 'economic plan' which was never really fully explained to the family.

When the family started complaining of the cuts that were resulting in the deterioration of the house and less food on the table he spent even more money installing TVs in every room with a steady stream of self congratulatory programs tell all how good he was at running the house and they should not worry and be happy. As the complaints started mounting up he cleverly 'saved' more money by refusing to pay for work already scheduled and reducing payments to the doctors from up the street who looked after various family members and thus eventually he was able to say to the residents 'I think we will have more cash coming in that going out next year' (so long as we don’t pay down anything on that massive mortgage). 'I will give those of you who have the best jobs a break on the rent and just so the rest of you don’t get too pissed off if you have kids you are feeding I will give you a few more peas on your plate!

Meanwhile he sent a few of the family on an expensive overseas trip but as the bills for that would not show up for a while did not include that in his budget, and the bill for the new row boats to keep the geese of the pond at the top of the garden would not be due for a few years so that does not count. Nor would the 4 new, expensive to maintain, fancy cars just ordered (shush, don’t tell anyone) matter because by the time the bills come in he figures on eliminating any one who questions his spending habits. With this in mind he did not consider that his sales of manure from the side yard to the west would probably not bring in as much as promised, and some of his sales men were talking of quitting. Nor did he consider that the paint was peeling, the widows were cracked and the wind blowing through cracks in the walls of the house in many places, these things could be ignored from his cozy well maintained apartment in the west wing where he and his favourites lived. And so father lived on in his dream world whilst the family fumed , but for how long we wonder........

That is far from the end of the fable, the family has yet to hear the full story from some of the favourites who have emerged from the west wing battered and torn and muttering “don't ever disagree with father, he's nuts”

Oh and one thing more, daddy’s name is Steve but he prefers to be called Sir Stephen!