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.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Broadcast TV in GBOS

A few weeks ago I wrote about the possible demise of all our broadcast TV reception in this area. The Broadcasters are crying that the cost to go digital as required by the CRTC by 2011 is too expensive and around 10% of their market will not be covered. It seems we here in Grey Bruce are part of that 10% because at this point they are still, so far as I know, talking about shutting down the existing analog transmitters in the area shortly leaving us with no choice (at least where I live) but satellite TV. Nothing wrong with that option except that compared with the cost of broadcast ($0) it is expensive, used to be that the lack of local stations was a bit of a problem but it seems that any local coverage has gone by the wayside anyway, so it just cost. I find it hard to justify an ongoing cost of $500 or more each year for the little we watch, but still like to see the news and some of the other programming sometimes.

So anyway I went looking to see what broadcast TV was currently licensed and what had been PROPOSED for digital, mostly to see if it was even going to be worth while to get a digital converter come next fall. Who know what will be still “on the books” by then but if you want to see what the current and future broadcast spectrum in this area looks like as it stand right now go to TV Fool and enter your coordinates to see all the stations within range and where they are in relation to your residence. You can get either a map or a detailed list. Could be that with a good uhf antenna we could bring in one of those new digital stations from Barrie or Kitchener if no local transmitters survive?

To find your coordinates either use google maps or go to the Grey or Bruce county GIS mapping site, locate your place and click on details to see the coordinates. Note that the coordinates expressed in degrees, minutes and seconds is not the same as when it is expressed in decimal which is what the TV site requires.

I considered the other alternative which was getting high speed internet with sufficient bandwith to watch programming and movies from on line but given that once again we out here are limited to wireless for high speed the cost is WAY to rich for me, even given how much I would like high speed for greater ease in research and downloads from the internet. At in excess of $500 up front for a tower to get above the tree line and equipment plus around a $1000 a year on an ongoing basis for any kind of package that does not have “limitations” on the volume of traffic its WAY out of my price range!

So its dial up internet and an ever reducing availability of TV news, thank goodness we have local radio to keep us up to date with a little of our local goings on, but their snippets are hardly in depth news. Seem the communications age is passing us rural folks by …… unless you can toss $$$ at it, not probable given the “job market” locally and province wide!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

High grade horse manure

We here at RR Backroads just received a visit from the Postal Delivery Police to tell us that our mail box which has been firmly in place and unmoving for some 10 or 12 years is now in an “unsafe” location. It seems that our mail delivery folk now consider it unsafe to stop at a mail box unless they can pull fully off the traveled portion of the road, not unreasonable on a busy, paved highway or county road but on a gravel back road where no shoulders exist along much of the road and one must expect to come across slow moving farm equipment, neighbors stopping for a chat or even horse and buggies on the side of the road this would seem to be a bit of overkill.

The fact that our mail has, along with hundreds of other rural residents been safely delivered without incidence to the existing location for, in some cases upwards of 20 years it would seem means nothing. That in recent years mail delivery vehicles have been provided with a warning beacon similar to that of an emergency vehicle or tow truck it would seem has no impact upon this “safety” initiative. We, along with no doubt hundreds of others have been given just 15 days to move our mailbox to an “approved” location. In our case this is back from the existing shoulder by some 6 or 8 feet, others who have had the Mailbox Police call have, according to some news stories I have seen had to create special pull off areas, or be relegated to a “community” mail box some distance away. There is a strong possibility that this is just the thin end of the wedge, rural mail delivery will become a thing of the past, instead of one vehicle traveling a daily route with your mail we will have hundreds of folks driving down the road to get their mail from those “community” mailboxes, or even worse in to town to the post office to get our mail.

I fully expect with the mail boxes set back this far that the next demand from Canada Post will be to keep our mailboxes (including the now parking lot sized pull off) clear of snow so the mail delivery person is not “inconvenienced” by having to get out of their vehicle. Of course the fact that the snow plow schedule is such that it comes through and fills in the nice open spot in front of the mail box just ½ hour before the mail is due will not affect that demand one iota!

In short its all exactly what the title of this post says, but then we out in the country should be used to getting shit on by now!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Thanks Ma!

Ma Nature that is. Each year we look for new woodland flowers along our woodland trails and usually find one or two that we had not previously seen here. This year we were blown away when we spotted a Yellow Lady Slipper which emerged for the first time. Not only that but is showed up in our “Woodland Garden” area near the house and not way back on the trails. Our multitude of Showy Orchids are particularly thick this year, in fact all the woodland flowers seem to be recovering from that particularly dry spell last year.

Where are the pictures you ask! Not to worry, although I don’t want to “slow my blog down” with pics you can find them on my web site which also pictures our trails and other woodland flowers.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Out to Grass?

I said in a previous post that I would not be as active on my blog during the summer months, that does not however mean that we out here in the boonies have been missing all the news. Simply that I am more inclined to try and ignore it all and enjoy the outdoors whilst we may.

So here is a compendium of some of the stuff that has caught my attention in the past few weeks….
Off the top, whats with the City of Toronto workers who are not satisfied with actually having a job but are now threatening a strike if the don’t get their own way. Are these folk living in the same world as the rest of us, we now have 129,000 MORE folks unemployed in Ontario than this time last year. That's 129 THOUSAND families wondering how to pay the rent, or how long their savings will hold out and these Garbage Collectors and other city employees who are hardly highly skilled OR hard done by are dissatisfied with their lot!! I got news for you guys (and all the other unionized arseholes who want MORE or are inflexible in their work habits) there are over 300,000 workers out there looking for jobs (in Ontario alone) and the only thing between you and joining them is union protectionism and I suspect that most taxpayers are getting very tired of such BS.

Meanwhile up in Ottawaaaa, our government has sold off some silverware belonging to the Queen and on loan for state occasions. They sold of a whole bunch more stuff also at around 10% of the value, apparently they “didn’t know what it was” or some such BS despite being told that if you MUST sell it should be appraised but a couple of thousand to do that was too much so instead they practically gave it away and now have had to “retrieve” it (read pay more than it sold for to get it back)

The Chalk River Nuclear reactor finally went tilt, exactly as the former Safety Commissioner said it would, but now it seems that our government does not consider the supply of medical isotopes to be a major problem. Perhaps some of these folk have been visiting Chalk River too often and had their brain cells fried, oh sorry, guess that their normal “It wasn’t us, its not our fault, there is nothing we can do, all will be ok, the sun is shining” etc etc spin machine at work!

As that ever vigilant blogger Impolitical points out “One after another, judges on the Federal Court and the Supreme Court have chastened, rather than trusted, the federal government. Perhaps judicial activism on these benches is rampant; more likely, Ottawa is consistently wrong.”
Yep, but that wont stop them from challenging such court decisions after all ideology is king and to hell with the rule of law, all the speeches Harper makes praising the openness of the Canadian system, the sacrifice our veterans made to keep it and the rule of law as the Canadian way will not make it so when each and every action by government goes in the OPPOSITE direction.

Oh, you say, but they are going to be tough on crime! Yeah right! By seeking, arresting, charging, trying and convicting and finally jailing someone who grow just 6 (SIX) “grass” plants for personal use. Hmmm, wonder if they have figured that out in their “economic recovery plan”, should only cost a few million to pass that lot through the court system. Then of course there is all the temporary employment from build all those new prisons, no wonder the infrastructure money is slow to flow they already have it tagged for a new prison in evey Tory riding across the country!! Meanwhile our Cities are becoming a good place to check out those hand guns from our southern neighbors, which weapons are, for those still in la la land, illegal to own with out a special permit. Anyone who thinks that asking these criminals to register their handguns is going to make one iota of difference to the crime stats is ready to join the bunch in Ottawa at the funny farm.

And you wonder why I try and make like a hermit and let the world go by, thankfully we can ignore much of it (not that we SHOULD) but the unemployment bit sure takes a bite. No Jobs up here unless you are a “professional” looking to join the 3.5 million or so other Public Service Employees who are already paid from one level of taxpayers money or another. Good luck with that, you will probably have to cross a picket line to apply!

Me, cynical, you have to be joking…….