RD Put Luck June 2018

Delivering the goods

The back door slams. There are footsteps; the clink of glass.


Think back a couple of weeks to the flooded St. John River, where a canoe bearing burglars visited empty homes. A chilling thought.

But no, it is the 1950s and the milk man has arrived with a fresh supply of bottled, pasteurized milk. Nobody home? Not a problem. Stepping to the refrigerator, he opens the door, sets aside a leftover bottle from the previous delivery, loads the top shelf with three fresh bottles, replaces the half-bottle, and turns to leave. He pauses, notes the two empty bottles in the dish rack beside the sink, and adds these to his steel mesh crate. Such was home delivery.

Can Google, Amazon, or Walmart match that today? Not likely.

Justine Senior and her mother, Julie, in Lunenburg, N.S., are well on their way, delivering glass-bottled Fox Hill Dairy milk door-to-door to a growing number of appreciative customers. Fox Hill may be unique in Nova Scotia. Certainly it is a rare breed among dairy farms in Atlantic Canada, producing, processing, and marketing milk from its own pastured herd of Jerseys and Holsteins, according to a recent story in the Chronicle Herald.

(I wonder if it is still a practice among Jersey farmers to have at least one Holstein in a string, last milked to flush out the lines.)

Fox Hill, in the Annapolis Valley village of Port Williams, is owned and operated by the Rand family, and has defied any naysayers who may have doubted they could pull off such a radical departure from the mainstream. Their milk is pasteurized but not homogenized, showing off the “cream line” that, in ages past, was a great way to judge quality. Colour helps define that cream line, another good reason to include a Jersey or two, if not a “golden” Guernsey.

(To be fair, a Holstein cow may produce a high-butterfat milk. You just won’t see that colour line, because she’s better at breaking down the carotene responsible for giving the coloured breeds’ milk their characteristic rich appearance.)

Ready aye . . . forget it!

The much-trumpeted Alert Ready warning system for pending disaster was tested yesterday. My phone remained silent, still, totally unresponsive. Hooray! It is, after all, my phone, for which I pay an exorbitant monthly fee. Alert Ready should be an “opt-in” service – assuming it truly serves a purpose beyond fattening the wallets of professional fearmongers. What next? Daily food recalls?

I phoned my cell phone provider weeks ago requesting my number be excluded from Alert Ready. There was little hope the request would get anywhere. Maybe it did. If so, a breakthrough. How easy it is to take on cell phone and Internet trappings. How difficult to shed them. For the longest time I’ve been trying to unsubscribe to LinkedIn, which has proven no use whatsoever – only an aggravation, as total strangers, ragamuffins every one of them, pry for inclusion into my tight circle of the rich and famous. No luck. In fact, clicking on “unsubscribe” seems a good way to bring on more spam.

Without question, there was zero success writing a letter urging the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) to deny British Petroleum (BP) permission to experiment with the future of our fishing industry. (“Our,” in this instance, includes Nova Scotia, Maine, New Brunswick, and Canada as a whole.) Not that one more voice in opposition to this irresponsible decision would make a difference. Silence, however, would be a vote in favour.

On the off chance readers of Rural Delivery don’t know, BP is the irresponsible company behind the 2010 blowout, death of 11, and destruction of habitat and fisheries livelihoods that carries on to this day in the Gulf of Mexico. In large part because of that disaster, neither BP nor any other company is permitted to drop an oily bit anywhere off the east coast of the U.S. – Florida to Maine. But it’s okay here.

Nova Scotia’s minister responsible for fisheries, Keith Colwell, is no dummy. Nonetheless, he came across that way raising hell over the federal Department of Fisheries’ announced intention to establish a coastal marine protected area (MPA) on the province’s Atlantic shore east of Halifax. In interviews he sounded uncharacteristically short on facts, imagining potential worst scenarios based on rumours and less. Why? As said, Colwell has demonstrated far more smarts in other instances. Could it be that he and his boss, Premier Stephen McNeil, were intentionally drawing attention away from the far greater and immediate threat posed to the environment, the fishing industry, and tourism by off-shore drilling?

Unfortunately, rank-and-file fishermen on Nova Scotia’s South Shore have been close to silent on off-shore drilling. Only one licensed lobsterman came out for a meeting in Shelburne back in April where they might have learned about the dangers posed by allowing BP and other companies to drill off our coast. Colin Sproul, fifth-generation fisherman and vice-president of the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association, and Antonia Juhasz, author of Back Tide, a book about the Deepwater Horizon disaster, had much to say on the subject – much of it deeply troubling.

Meetings are a drag, but sure as hell fun compared to shoveling tar off a beach or hauling up a trap full of dead lobsters. It is never too late to work on getting informed and raising awareness about the insanity of basing an economy on the wholesale exploitation of resources through open-pit mining, clearcutting, fracking, or drilling ultra-deep wells for oil and gas in the North Atlantic.

Time to think positive thoughts about growing food, erecting shelters, building stuff, and generally creating. The Harrison Lewis Coastal Discovery Centre, off and running for a 12th season, is all for these pursuits, this year with the able help and direction of manager Jessica Bradford and Kaitlyn Harris – who will be dividing her attention between the Centre and, with Environment Nova Scotia, nearby Carters Beach. This precious stretch of shoreline, for generations quietly treasured locally, has been overwhelmed by appreciative hoards since it came into public ownership a year or so ago. There is need for understanding the fragile nature of the place, lest it end up being loved to death.

Please check out www.harrisonlewis.org for a look-see at what’s happening on the HLC hill. DvL