The simple truth



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

Cue the Adagio for the decline and fall of American greatness

Last night I watched most of the second U.S. presidential-campaign debate. You know, that’s the one in which Trump refers to his comments in the now-infamous video as “locker-room banter.”

Tonight, I listened again – though for the first time in quite a while – to Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings. The string quartet version is the one I like best. I always go to the Dover Quartet performance on YouTube. They really put their hearts into it. You can see that, as well as hear it. That’s flattery I’m sure they would be glad to hear.


The Dover Quartet in concert

As I was listening the thought occurred this great music is well-suited as background for the tragedy now unfolding in that great country, the world’s first liberal democracy. Yes, liberal.  Continue reading

Don’t play political games with climate change

earthOn a Cosmic scale our beautiful little blue-green jewel of a planet is some kind of rare miracle – perhaps the only one – in a vast Universe of unimaginable extremes of blazing hot and deep-freezing cold.

But global warming and the resulting climate change is now in the process of showing the world – that part of the world that’s watching, at least – how delicately balanced and vulnerable that miracle is.

Market gardeners and other farmers know a few degrees of temperature either way during the growing season, and the lack of a certain amount of reliable rainfall – say, at least a weekly centimetre or two, about an inch – can make all the difference in the health and well-being of crops. Continue reading

On weeding the garden, here and there


The well-tended potato plants are starting to bloom north of the border

There’s a lot to be said for growing a garden, especially one as big as mine here at Cathedral Drive Farm in Hope Ness, on the Bruce Peninsula, in Ontario, Canada. It’s like ballet, or any other creative discipline that requires your absolute devotion and attention for hours a day, every day. You can get lost in it, but not aimless. It can be an escape for a while from the world of cares and woe and discouraging news about how the future is likely to unfold; and these days it’s not very good at all.

And, yes, I am referring to the infernal T-word. Continue reading

What makes America great?


These days I think it’s more than fair to reflect on the nature of greatness; in fact, it’s an absolute necessity, as Donald Trump seeks to gain power and ascendancy over his great country.


Donald Trump

That, I daresay, fits his definition of greatness, as in “Making America Great Again.” It’s about power, but not the power of moral rightness and of a great Truth as expressed, for example, by the wisdom of those who wrote the American Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution of the United States of America, for the world’s first, full-fledged modern democracy.

Continue reading

How soon history is forgotten

It’s tough to get a word in edgewise when you’re having a tooth filled. But the World’s Best Dentist and I always seem to do a pretty good job in the few minutes it takes for the freezing to take effect; and then afterwards for a few moments when the work is done.

Yes, yes . . . the infernal T-word came up. It was bound to: we both follow current events pretty closely; and in case anybody doesn’t get it yet, the fate of the world is at stake in the still-uncertain outcome of the incredible political events taking place in the U.S. Continue reading

The soul of a great democracy is in grave danger

The technical support woman on the other end of the line somewhere in the U.S. south or south-west sounded weary, and a little stressed.  I always try to exchange a little small talk with those call-centre/tech support folks; after all, I’m a real, live human being, and so are they. It often leads to something interesting. This time was no exception.

I took a risk and sympathized with her and her great nation about the present “political situation” it finds itself in, “what with Trump and all.”

I went a little farther than that even by suggesting the man and his careless mouth are playing “a dangerous game” with the future of his country and the world. “There’s a reason why we study history in school,” I said. “It’s happened before, somewhere else, and not that long ago.” Continue reading