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.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Spring arrives in the Klondike Hills.

After a long winter of sitting on my arse looking out the window and wondering if spring is ever going to come it looks like it finally has. It seems late but is probably about usual for this area, we were so spoiled last year with summer like weather and temps into the 70s in early April that this spring seemed to be forever getting here. The long list of 'honey do' (mostly self imposed) begins to translate into 'honey get on with it' and I find that the old bones are not cooperating too well after the lack of any real 'exercise' over the winter. Somehow the need to get up to refill my glass is not the same as moving gravel to get ready for pouring the shed floor or blocking the logs dragged our last year for this years firewood!

Anyway I accompanied the Mrs in a gentle stroll around our forest trails Tues morning, it being one of the first sunny and warm(ish) days this year and the sight of Ma Nature poking her head up and saying spring is here and life continues lifted my spirits. On our walk I saw these leaves of a Trout Lilly sticking up through some moss at the bottom of a maple tree and thought 'this is what it is all about, a fresh start, put last year behind you and look ahead to new growth'. A simple picture, no pretty flowers or dappled sunlight but somehow it depicts the essence of spring to me, enjoy... (click pic to enlarge)

That my 'list' outpaces my 'ambition' suddenly does not seem quite as big a deal as it did a few days ago, thanks Ma....

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hydro Line Workers

I have done my share of bitching about hydro prices and in particular the “delivery charge” portion of my bill which exceeds the 'cost of hydro' delivered, but given that this 'extra' on our bill pays for maintenance and repair and the current number of lines down due to the recent ice storm I must reconsider my stance. These front line high voltage linesmen have my greatest respect, they are by all accounts called out in the most miserable weather to work on potentially very dangerous high voltage lines often suspended in a bucket 50 feet above the ground in high winds, pissing rain or heavy snow to keep us warm and cozy in our houses. No doubt they are paid very well but as a technician who has been 'on call' I can say that NO amount of money would get me to play around with 50,000 volts dangling in a bucket in the middle of a snow storm after already having spent 8 or more hours on the job that day.

Thanks guys, I do hope your bosses take the time and money to upkeep and improve the hydro distribution system, replace old poles, cut overhanging trees and eliminate problem areas but understand it is hard to remember that you are suppose to be draining the swamp when you are up to your ass in alligators!

We were fortunate to not loose power here but many around us were not so lucky, my daughter down in Huron County is at the time of writing this still without power after abt 60 hrs, when you see some of the damage you can understand the challenges faced by Hydro One to get power restored.

Us country folk tend to be more prepared for power outages than our urban friends, we here have water for cooking stored, propane stove unreliable upon hydro, wood heat that warms twice or more in cutting, splitting, stacking and hauling, a generator to keep the freezers running if need be and battery operated lights, radio and other essential 'stuff'. It is rarely needed and all to often it is not working properly from neglect when needed due to the long period between uses, but we are aware of the 'Be Prepared' motto learned long ago from my days in the Boy Scouts. My daughter just learned that those wonderful cell phones do not work unless charges and home cordless phones don’t work without power. Every household in rural Ontario should have an old simple plug in phone for emergency’s, the reliance on cell technology by an increasing number of folks is fine till the shit hits the fan, tower gets knocked out, batteries go dead, or you are stuck some place with “no service' then that old dial up land line looks really good!

Those in town have more services and backup options available but it must be bloody hard to kindle a fire on the living room floor to keep warm when all you have is electric heat and there are I must admit only so much those living in an apartment can do when major power outages occur. I feel fortunate that out here in the boonies I have the ability to prepare for emergencies and survive quite happily for a number of days without modern amenities, its just a learning curve to know how to prepare. By the time I have it right I will be poking up daisy’s but perhaps my daughter will get the idea!

Meanwhile I still would not be a linesman for any money, work safe guys.......

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Owen Sound Mayor says fishing agreement will work.

Whilst I applaud Mayor Haswell's efforts to get all sides talking about the recent fishing agreement with the Saugeen Ojibway Nation it is clear that such discussions should have taken place before the agreement was put in place. That it did not is clearly the fault of the MNR, working in secrecy seems to be the new normal for all levels of government in Canada!.
Mayor Haswell has said that folks should read the agreement before jumping to conclusions as to how it affects the commercial and sports fishery, easy to say but very hard to do! When this agreement was announced I tried to do just that, no reference to said agreement could be found on the MNR site let alone the actual text, a second search today came up empty also, it could be there but if so is well hidden. No news stories that I have read provide a link to such a document and several make a point of saying that it was not generally available at the time of publication, it hard to read an agreement that is not generally available to the public.

I believe much of the concern about this issue could have been avoided by a more open and public process and that any future news stories should provide a link to the document (if indeed it is available online anywhere)

I would be pleased to post such a link here if someone can provide it, lets all base our opinions on facts not speculation and could someone with clout get the MNR to smarten up and provide easy access to such documents!