(Note: this is a guest post from Tibor Csincsa, of Holland Centre, Grey County, Ontario, Canada. Tibor is a long-time beekeeper who has travelled the world teaching beekeeping, giving workshops, and speaking at conferences. I saw a letter to the editor he wrote in the February 22, 2021 issue of Farmtario, an Ontario farm publication. It was in response to an article on Page 10, ‘Agriculture visions collide in Africa,’ in the January 25, 2021 Farmtario issue. Tibor kindly agreed to let me publish a longer version of his letter in Finding Hope Ness.)
Declaring the modern ‘American way’ approach to agriculture science-based and suggesting other traditional methods, especially European, are something less than that, is a shallow statement at best and, at worst, ignorant.
The ‘scientific’ American approach to agriculture has plenty of reason to do some soul searching regarding such things as soil degradation, less than rigorous agro-chemical licensing, and environmental damage. As a long-time beekeeper, I deal with the consequences such problems on a daily basis.
I earned my agricultural degree in Hungary and started my professional life there. During my decades long career, I have traveled to Asia, Africa, and eastern Europe to teach beekeeping, organize workshops, and speak at conferences. As a result, I have first-hand experience with the traditional way of farming in those regions. By pursuing my interest in, and promoting, beekeeping, I have visited very remote places around the globe, and not just the showcases of any country’s plant production and animal husbandry.
I was browsing the troubling, even downright depressing news headlines of the day when I finally landed on Donald Trump and his half-hearted choice of Mike Spence, Governor of Indiana, as his vice-presidential running mate. Then, for no apparent reason out of the blue, so to speak, I thought about the intelligence of plants. Continue reading
Granddaughter Mirabella in the Yukon Gold
I don’t like using the expression, but I guess I have to admit to “growing old.” I still feel perky enough after I get up with the sunrise, just before 6 a.m. here in Hope Ness, have my morning coffee or two, or three, and some toast or a bowl of cereal.
My daily “to do” list is longer than ever, so much so that there hasn’t been enough time and energy to do a daily post. I’m always anxious to get an early-morning start with the outside work. I know by mid-afternoon most of that once-boundless energy will be pretty well done for the day. Continue reading
Let’s go for a little morning walk in the garden. The sun’s out, but clouds are forming, with the prospect of some timely rain. It’s been about a week or so without – nothing too urgent just yet, a few things are in need of watering without rain today. But all in all, if I do say so myself, the garden is looking pretty good.
The cool garden is looking good
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
Mr. Massey before
There’s a mountain of work to do at Cathedral Drive Farm in Hope Ness these days: weed between the rows, hill the potatoes, spread straw mulch everywhere possible to hold the moisture in the soil and keep the clay-loam soil from baking to hard-pan in the sun, mow the hay, take the wild barn cat his morning dish of milk, prep the downstairs bedroom for painting . . . on and on it goes.
But I’ve got it down pat now: I take a few minutes in the morning after the indispensable two cups of coffee to write the daily to-do list; and then I proceed to ignore it as I just “keep on keeping on” with one thing at a time, or two or three, until the sun begins to set. And then I think it’s about time to see what’s going on in the world and the blogosphere.
But first, this day I went over to “The Shop” to see how Brent was getting on with the restoration of Mr. Massey, my world-famous, and one-of-a-kind, Massey-Harris 22 tractor.
Irish Cobbler potato plants looking good, June 7
Let’s look on the bright side again.
Let’s plant some seeds of hope.
Let’s do what we can, where we can, while we can.
Here at Cathedral Drive Farm, surrounded by Hope in reality and spirit, the garden is starting to look good. I can look out my second-floor office window and see multiple rows of sweet corn that a week ago emerged, including quite a bit of seed left over from last season. Continue reading
The gnarly old willow tree in the front field is starting to show its leaves
The most important act of the day is the choice you make to look on the dark side or the bright side. That’s the life-changing thought that occurred to me this morning as I wrote down the usual way-too-long “to do” list. Continue reading
How’s the weather where you are?
Better than here, I hope, especially if you’re a farmer trying to plant crops, or, like me, a market vegetable gardener.
This is April 26, 2016, southern Ontario, Canada, just south of the 45th Parallel, halfway between the North Pole and the Equator. And this snowstorm you’re seeing in these photos is not normal for this time of year. By this time I’ve usually been out in the garden for two weeks, cultivating the soil, and then planting some of the early, hardy crops like peas, definitely peas, beets, carrots, lettuce, and even potatoes. Continue reading
What a guy, that Mr. Massey.
Mr. Massey and I have a moment
He puts me to shame. While I’ve been off doing other things, including stuff like this, and generally spending way too much time trying to figure out where to start with a to-do list that’s always too long – and then getting all down and discouraged about it – he’s been patiently waiting for me to give him some attention. Continue reading