A friend of mine recently cut off a couple of his fingers on the table saw. When I saw him a while afterwards, he still had his entire hand wrapped in bulky bandages, and he gingerly held it close to his body. (He has a couple of little kids, who were scrambling around nearby – and everyone knows that little kids have a knack for whacking whatever part of your body is particularly sensitive on any given day.)Read More
When a major power grid failure hit Eastern Denmark and Southern Sweden on Sept. 23, 2003, leaving millions in the dark, a standby generator was fired up to provide electricity in Copenhagen, the Danish capital. This was unremarkable, except for the fact that the backup power source was a massive diesel unit that had been in service for 70 years.Read More
The government of P.E.I. recently launched a campaign urging Island expats to return to the province of their birth. At least, I assume that’s what they mean when they say they are targeting “Islanders living away.” Doesn’t that turn of phrase have a charmingly old-fashioned ring to it? Kind of like “living in sin.”Read More
It’s not the heat
This summer did not arrive gently and sweetly. More like the bolt of lightning that killed a man in Tabusintac, N.B., on June 29. Inside of a week, we went from huddling around the stove – parts of Cape Breton actually got a couple inches of snow – to receiving warnings about high humidex levels, via “special weather statements” from Environment Canada.Read More
Delivering the goods
The back door slams. There are footsteps; the clink of glass. “Hello?” 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.
The wild and the domestic
I think birds are awesome, but I’m not a birder. For most of my life I have appreciated birds the way I appreciate the stars – in blissful ignorance. Various people have tried to improve my knowledge of the constellations, and I have stubbornly resisted. Part of what’s great about the stars is how far away they are.
Take a deep breath
My 13-year-old son has advised me I should not be so mean to the people who call on a daily basis claiming to be able to resolve problems with my computer. I’m taking this to heart. As self-improvement objectives go, it is both worthy and achievable. I have to keep telling myself that these people are not really scam artists; they are the sweatshop toilers of the fraud industry, likely receiving a rather small cut.
The market and the garden
First things first. We are pretty pumped up about launching a new column in RD, under the banner of “Garden Gleanings.” Catchy, right? It will appear in every issue of the magazine, featuring a rotating cast of writers, addressing somewhat seasonal topics related to growing food on a small scale. The various contributors will draw on their personal experiences and their respective areas of expertise, aiming to entertain and inform.
Small ruminants, great drama
We’ve had a visiting buck goat in the barn for the last little while, to spend some quality time with a doe who failed to get bred last year because she was entirely too discreet about letting her desires be known. This guy is so fragrant, she started showing signs of heat before we’d finished unloading him from the truck.
Bring me fir logs hither
I couldn’t resist going down to the former Oak Hill sawmill site for the pre-auction preview, the day before the mill’s remaining assets were to be sold off. It was late October – one of those balmy days we had this fall. The mill, just outside Bridgewater on Nova Scotia’s South Shore, was once one of the province’s largest lumber producers, and employed 150 people.
Tramping through the commons
Late fall means it’s time to break out our very fashionable blaze-orange outdoor attire – because in November no one wants to be mistaken for a deer. I still find it strange to hear the hills echoing with gunfire on Remembrance Day, but mostly I’ve grown accustomed to the autumnal ordnance. What I find a bit irksome is that our enjoyment of our own land is curtailed during hunting season.
Scarcity and abundance
Until recently, our old farmhouse ran on a 60-amp service. It was likely the original wiring, because this road wasn’t connected to the grid until 1949. Funny to think that Elvis was already plinking away on a guitar, Miles Davis was blowing his horn in Paris, but farms around here had no electricity. By that time a young lawyer named Pierre Trudeau had taken a job in Ottawa working for Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent.