RD November 2014 Letters

Easy on fuel
RD: This tractor I took a picture of on a rural drive in New Brunswick is made entirely of bales of hay with steering wheel and hubcaps added on. I love your paper and when I move in the spring I shall continue to get it.
Esther Bradley
Cherry Burton, N.B.

(Esther, thank you for sending the photo. We wish more readers would think of Rural Delivery when snapping digital pictures. It helps bring the country together. DvL)

A better way?
RD: After concluding that my Rural Delivery subscription had expired, followed by a sense of annoyance at not being notified, I went back to the last issue I received and discovered a tiny “last issue” printed beside my address on the cover of the magazine.
    I guess that makes the error my fault, technically. I will re-subscribe using the form from my last (March ’14) issue.
    I was expecting to get a notification letter separately in the mail but now I realize this must be a more cost-effective way of getting the word out to your subscribers. Still, I have to wonder how many other people have been deprived of their favorite magazine as a result of this method of notification, not to mention loss of revenue for DvL Publishing. 
    So, here’s my constructive criticism: If there is any way possible, I would love to see the notification method you use maintained, but with much bigger text used for the “Last Issue” warning and, even better, if the text was skewed at an eye-catching angle.
    There may be reasons you can’t do this that are not obvious to me, but I think it would be beneficial to your readers. Now that I’m aware of it, I won’t be fooled next time, but I truly regret missing some issues of your wonderful magazine. Otherwise, I have nothing but good words for your publications. Keep up the good work!
Don Moore
Harvey Station, N.S.

(Don, you are correct in all your assumptions and your solution would be perfect, could we do it. Many years ago we could, when we were smaller and handled mailing in-house. We slapped the cover with a bold rubber stamp, red ink. Now that is not possible and larger or skewed type, we are told, is not an option. We are not done looking for a better, affordable, renewal notice. Thanks for taking the trouble to write. DvL) 

Licensed, at last
RD: A couple of months ago it was reported in Rural Delivery that “antique” plates were now available for tractors more than 30 years old.
    It took a while. First, Access Nova Scotia in Amherst wasn’t aware of this; then they got a memo confirming it, but regular antique auto plates would be issued. Then they said another memo indicated antique tractor plates would be stamped. Finally, they were told to issue antique auto plates. Apparently, I am the first from the Amherst office to be issued them.
    A special inspection form must be completed by a certified mechanic. This form does not include electrical lighting and no sticker is involved.
Glenn Wallis
Claremont, Cumberland County, N.S. 

Talking turkey
    “Would you feed your family with something that is not inspected, no controls over bacteria and feel safe that you’re feeding your family that and have someone get sick from it?” said Keith Colwell, Minister of Agriculture for Nova Scotia. He added that in the future Nova Scotians could be stopped from butchering their own meat birds in their own backyards.“Because of this issue coming forward and the way it’s come forward, we may have no choice.”
    This comment, attributed to Nova Scotia Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell, appeared in the Sun News in Toronto, Sept. 30. The minister was responding to questions concerning efforts to close unlicensed turkey slaughtering facilities. In response, Richard and Sharon Orpin penned a letter to Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil Oct. 5 and copied it to Rural Delivery. Here are excerpts from the letter. DvL

Dear Premier McNeil,
    Before I get started in this letter please note that this household voted Liberal in the last election. We also approve of your decision on fracking and the way you are trying to fix our health care system. . . .
    This news item* appeared in the Sun News in Toronto just before a support rally was held for Gordon Fraser in Pictou County, N.S. We sent a letter of protest to our MLA Suzanne Lohnes-Croft and Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell, to your office and many other MLAs in the province. Within four hours of our sending, we had responses of support from four MLAs. . . . It’s interesting to note that our own MLA never responded. Also, of the Liberal MLAs that were invited to the meeting – none showed up! Other MLAs did. 
    This leads us to believe the Liberal government could give a damn about agriculture in this province.
    I did a little background check on Minister Colwell. Apparently he has no experience in agriculture whatsoever. . . What is he doing in that job? It’s obvious that he has a vendetta against small agriculture in this province. Anyone that makes a statement such as he did about possibly making it illegal to kill one’s own chickens in one’s own backyard is a fool. I would like to see that get enforced! The only line he comes out with is food safety and protecting the public – fear mongering. . . . 
    It’s interesting to note that the Turkey/Poultry Marketing Board shut down two more small operators after Gordon Fraser – all because of licensing. That makes four in the last several months. None were closed because of sanitary conditions (sic). . . .
    As for licensing and inspection, you do remember a few years ago the closure for many weeks of one of the largest meatpacking plants in Western Canada because of contaminated beef – which by the way was discovered by the Americans and not Canadians? And the recall at Maple Leaf Products because of contaminated meat? Last week an Italian sausage making company in Toronto had a recall of their contaminated sausage. All these places were licensed and inspected.
    Keep in mind that this doesn’t bother the big companies with huge bank accounts and overpaid lawyers. It’s just the cost of doing business, and the customers soon forget. If this were to happen to one of our small processers it would be devastating to them, so they take great care in keeping things clean.
    I am all for spot checks on these small processers. If they are clean tell them to have a nice day let them do their work! . . . We resent being told by a government where we can and cannot buy our foods. We think it’s time to put Minister Keith Colwell out to pasture, and also the Turkey/Poultry Board. Please fix this. It could be the Liberal party’s Yarmouth ferry moment.
    May I suggest a new book you might enjoy? “Merging,” by Soren Bondrup – Nielsen. He lives in Port Williams, Nova Scotia, and is head of the biology department at Arcadia University – an excellent read!
Yours truly,
Richard and Sharon Orpin – retired farmers
Lunenburg N.S.

(* To read the letter in full visit the Gordon Fraser link on RuralLife.ca.)

(A note was sent to Michael Noonan, communications director with the N.S. Department of Agriculture asking if the Sun News quote was accurate. Noonan replied, “Minister Colwell’s interview with Sun News was about regulations for the Turkey Farmers of Nova Scotia that require processors of turkeys in Nova Scotia to be licensed. Nova Scotians who raise turkeys and slaughter them for their own consumption are not affected by those regulations and are able to continue to raise turkeys for their own use. There is no plan to change that. I hope that answers your question.”)

Sad day
RD: You should have received the final issue of The Smallholder in December of last year. So our exchange can end.
    We enjoyed and appreciated each issue of Rural Delivery. When we were working on a magazine ourselves, we found much of value to us in RD. Now though, we don’t need it so much, since we have nothing to send in exchange. And all The Smallholder’s workers are getting on in years anyways and aren’t using information from RD. (No, not even corncob jelly in your September issue.)
    We ended The SH when our Argenta Press died, suddenly, as a business. And we did not want to try to find a commercial press miles away. We had a great time publishing our magazines. And now was the time to end it. Good luck to you and RD.     May you continue for years.
Betty Tillotson
Argenta, B.C.

(Betty, you and your friends, volunteers all, performed a wonderful service to small holders. How many years? It was a fine periodical and it is sad to know it won’t be arriving in the mail one of these days. I wonder if someone in The Smallholder’s extended community won’t one day write a history of the adventure. It is sure to happen and will be a fascinating tale. Thank you, DvL)

Sheding light
RD: On page 17 of the September issue of Rural Delivery, about two-thirds of the way down the page, it says Mitch and Susan “have no electricity in the garden shed.” I have noticed solar panels powering highway signs along Highway 3 in B.C. Would that not work in their garden shed? Perhaps you could find someone to explain solar panels, the cost, and the amount of electricity produced. I would like one for my water heater. 
E. Irene Varty
Winlaw, B.C.

PS: I did not intend to renew but after seeing September I changed my mind.

(Pleased to have you back, Irene. Thank you. Mitch and Sue’s home is solar powered. In Nov. and Dec. 2008, Mitch offered plans for a solar water heater. As for powering a water heater, maybe a reader will jump in here with helpful advice. DvL)