Keep your hand on that plow, hold on

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Those dark clouds just keep coming, don’t they, figuratively and actually, in the skies above.

Not to sound too pessimistic – I keep telling myself to look on the bright side, of course, and try to be a beacon of hope here in Hope Ness, beside the Hope Bay Forest, just north of Hope Bay. But the reality can’t be denied. Indeed, if hope is at all possible, and I believe it is, it must grow out of a clear-eyed and heartfelt acceptance of the challenge we and the world we live in face at this critical moment in human history. Continue reading

The simple truth

 

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Digging potatoes with grandson Jake, and Buddy.

I’m a simple man in some ways. I think my love of growing potatoes reflects that. It takes a certain know-how, and I am proud of what I do to avoid the use of pesticide: thick straw mulch and a lot of hard work. The result this year is my best crop ever, if I say so myself.

But, growing potatoes is not quite “rocket science,” some might say, as if that’s the highest standard of intelligence anyone might reach. Yet, when you give it a little thought how hard can that be? You pack a metal tube full of explosives, point it toward the sky, stand back, count to 10 backward, push a button, and say, “we have lift off,” in whichever language applies at that moment. Continue reading

Nature knows best about Sauble Beach

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Sauble Beach, unraked, early August, 2017

Sauble Beach is located on the western shore of Lake Huron, one of North America’s Great Lakes. It’s a major summer tourist destination in the Province of Ontario, Canada. On a busy summer upwards of 25,000 people will pack the beach and the nearby business community of restaurants,  campgrounds, hundreds of rental cottages and other tourism-oriented businesses.  Most will come from the cities a couple of hours drive south in Ontario. It is one of the major tourist destinations in the area generally known as Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound.

That area, and more, is part of the “traditional territory” of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, which includes the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation and the Saugeen First Nation. Continue reading

Omar Khadr has a lot to offer the world, including hope

There was no shortage indeed of tragic and troubling events in the world and Canada this past week:

  • The continuing tragedy of more than 200 out-of-control wildfires in B.C. and the evacuation of close to 15,000 people from their fire-threatened, and now possibly destroyed, homes.
  • News that more than two-thirds of Canadians, according to a usually reliable Angus-Reid poll, oppose the Canadian government’s payment of $10.5 million compensation to Omar Khadr for the failure of previous Liberal and Conservative governments to defend his Constitutional rights when he was a tortured, teenage prisoner in American military custody.
  • The “bombshell,” and still unfolding revelations that senior members of the then-Trump election campaign, especially Donald Trump Jr., met with a Russian lawyer, after they were led to believe that lawyer had incriminating information about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton that was part of a Russian government effort to help Donald Trump win last year’s U.S. presidential election.

And then, in the midst of all that, comes news that an “iceberg” bigger than Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island, has broken off a huge Antarctic ice shelf.

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Larsen C breaking off.

An iceberg indeed! The Larsen C now-former piece of Antarctica weighs a trillion tonnes, and is 5,800 sq kms in size. It’s called Larsen C because it follows the “calving” of two other giant sections, A and B, off the Larsen Ice Shelf, in 1995 and 2002 respectively.

“The (Larsen C) iceberg is one of the largest recorded and its future progress is difficult to predict,” Adrian Luckman, the lead investigator of the British-led Project MIDAS, which has been monitoring the ice shelf for years, said in a Thomson-Reuters news report. Continue reading

We must learn how to live, and love, together.

 

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She’s looking right at you with that questioning look, deep into your heart and mind. What will you say and, more importantly, do in reply?

It’s one thing to talk reconciliation, between Indigenous people and other Canadians; it’s another thing to make it happen. We’re being reminded of that lately on an almost daily basis as many in the country celebrate this brave, and relatively new experiment in multicultural living called Canada. Continue reading

My “cool” garden, Toronto Island flooding, and “the old fogy days.”

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My “cool” garden, with lettuce thriving and in need of picking and thinning

If a picture is worth a thousand words, I might say this is, therefore, a 2,000-word update on the progress of my “cool” garden. But I better make allowances for the fact they’re two views from different angles of essentially the same picture and call it 1,000 words. Nothing but “real” news here, by golly. Continue reading

Still waiting for summer

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My “cool” garden. Not doing too bad. Those are potato plants in the foreground, mulched with straw to deter potato beetles, and add organic matter to the soil.

My “cool” garden is doing okay despite the unusually cool, wet weather. After all, up to a point that’s what early-season crops like peas, potatoes, onions, kale, and lettuce like – up to a point. But they won’t thrive either without their good, old-fashioned share of sunny days and warm weather.

I’ve lived in southern Ontario for a good many years (indeed, I’ve got another birthday coming, and that will make me of an age that surprises even me) but I’ve never seen anything like this: Continue reading

A good year to speak and do truth

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I admit my initial reaction to the criticism heaped on Canada’s Governor-General David Johnston for referring to Indigenous people as “immigrants” in a CBC-radio interview was that he had walked into a thorny patch of political correctness.

But a moment of reflection soon set that knee-jerk reaction aside as I realized the absurdity of what the Governor-General had said on the recent the weekly episode of The House:

“We’re a country based on immigration, going right back to our, quote, Indigenous people, unquote, who were immigrants as well, 10, 12, 14,000 years ago.” Continue reading