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Thursday, June 24, 2021

"You bring the coffee. I'll cook the breakfast," George Mackenzie had told the boys.
They had been getting takeout from Mabel's Grill since the beginning of the latest lockdown but...

Thursday, June 24, 2021

I saw Jean Kellestine walking toward her neat, white house after getting the mail and had to break into a jog to catch up with her, even though she was one week shy of turning 90 years old. Living on her own, with frequent visits ...

Thursday, June 24, 2021

As I write this in early May, we've been watching a bird build a nest in a tree outside our kitchen window -- a reminder that even in nature creatures alter their environment for survival...

Thursday, June 24, 2021

I'm sure there are as many different ways to remember loved ones, events, and experiences as there are people. My long-time favourite is plants. My friend's mother gave me a piece of lamium from her flower garden during one spring visit.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

A river passes through our little rural community. It's here where further upstream navigation ends for anything much larger than a canoe or shallow-draft skiff.
The river once served as a highway for lake-going vessels, the connection to...

Thursday, June 24, 2021

The guys had barely settled down on Cliff Murray's front porch with their take-out breakfast from Mabel's Grill when George Mackenzie noticed the stack of white plastic bags piled nearby.
"Is that fertilizer for the lawn?" he asked Cliff..

Monday, January 18, 2021

Can you imagine a Parliament of all species? Even if there was just one representative per species, that would require a huge hall, with at least 8.7 million seats. Or, it would become the Mother of all Zoom calls.
I am being only partly...

Monday, January 18, 2021

Can you imagine a Parliament of all species? Even if there was just one representative per species, that would require a huge hall, with at least 8.7 million seats. Or, it would become the Mother of all Zoom calls.
I am being only partly...

Monday, January 18, 2021

"So how was your big celebration?" Dave Winston asked Cliff Murray the other day after his 25th wedding anniversary.
"Good," said Dave. "Quiet, of course, like everything else with the pandemic. The kids took us to a little Chinese restaurant...

Monday, January 18, 2021

Are farmers in Canada losing the trust and respect of their fellow Canadians?
The most recent numbers I could find concerning that question are from 2018. A poll, conducted by Insights West, puts farmers among the most respected professions...

Monday, January 18, 2021

Who knew when we rolled into 2020 that we would soon be facing shortages of things we seemingly have taken for granted for decades... toilet paper... bicycles...flour... dogs.... ? I'm sure that vanilla ice cream must be on the list somewhere too...

Monday, January 18, 2021

A couple of months back Lisa B. Pot caught my attention when she wrote her column about human geography, the sense of place we develop because of our surroundings and the experiences of living in those surroundings.
About the same time as her column ...

Monday, November 16, 2020

The pair of buff-coloured hens (we think they are Orpingtons) were purchased for their stunning good looks. The former owners assured me they were consistent layers but even after giving them a few weeks to adjust to the move, their egg-laying is ...

Monday, November 16, 2020

A common theme throughout my career as a farm journalist has been regret by farm leaders that farmers dilute their strength by not sticking together. Probably few people around today know that wasn't always true -- that 100 years ago Ontario's ...

Monday, November 16, 2020

Harvest is always a stressful time of year. As we rush to get the year's worth of work put in the bins safely, there is never a shortage of things that can go wrong. No matter how carefully I plan and try to anticipate and prepare.
We get tired.

Monday, November 16, 2020

There have been concerted efforts, courageous even, to provide a unified voice for Canada's farming community over the years.
They've never worked. The community, despite being a shadow of its former self in terms of numbers, may be more diverse today...

Monday, November 16, 2020

"That must be Cliff now," said George Mackenzie as he sat at one end of a fold-up picnic table in Dave Winston's machinery shed.
"Sounds awfully loud, even for that old beater of a truck of his," Dave observed.
"It's not," George said, sticking ...

Monday, November 16, 2020

Do you hate wearing a mask? Yeah, me too.
I've got a few cute ones, but every time I put one on, I feel terrible. It's not just because I feel suffocated and I can smell what I ate for lunch (not always a bad thing!), but to me it's a symbol of these...

Thursday, October 15, 2020

When describing place, place theorists Jeff Malpas and Edward Casey say we live in place and can only live in place. Our "place" doesn't just have a coordinate system. Rather, our place is made by bounded, flexible, constantly changing relationships...

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Thanksgiving is perhaps the one time of the year when Canadians take a break from the constant drive for more possessions, more comfort and more wealth to appreciate instead what we already have. Then we go right back into the two months, leading ...

Thursday, October 15, 2020

When we look back at where we were a year ago, it would be difficult to find a person who would have accurately predicted where we would be today. After the first wave of disbelief that many of us felt in March as our kids came home from locked...

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Pinkie has called, an angry edge in her tone, to inquire about canning jars. Did I have any.
"I wanted to can a few jars of my pears, so I popped down my local hardware store and the grocer then drove to...

Thursday, October 15, 2020

"I tell ya, it's worse than Home and Garden TV," Cliff Murray was telling the guys one morning when they took advantage of a warm day for a coffee session on Mabel's patio.
"I mean when my wife sees a perfect house on HGTV, she knows...

Thursday, October 15, 2020

In the biography of Rachel Carson, by Linda Lear, it is so apparent that Carson recognized science as a process. She had to forgo a Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University because of poverty and family tragedies. Nevertheless, from the 1930s to the 1960s...

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