RD December 2014 Letters

A winning way of life
RD: We have been receiving your magazine for about 20 years and we keep every one. I find them to be a great resource and cannot bring myself to throw any of them out. My husband, Russell, and I raised our four boys on my husband’s ancestral home in Copper Lake, Antigonish County. 
    We gave up the sheep in 1994. He is 77 and I am 68 and we still run a cow-calf and small blueberry operation. Our lovely silver Charolais are our pride and joy and we love our way of life, labor intensive though it is. It is so good to have a publication that we can relate to.
Keep up the great work.
Marjorie MacHattie
Goshen, N.S.

(Thank you Marjorie. Keep on doing stuff. It’s the best recipe for a longer, happier life. DvL)

RD: I read with interest the Oct. 2014 issue of RD. I could identify with DvL’s “Pot Luck” column. I purchased my farmhouse as a single lady at age 20 instead of buying a car. Properties were not too expensive back then. The farmhouse had 250 acres of land, more or less, with lake frontage on two lakes. The house was built in 1899. 
    The family living in the original house on the foundation lost their house to fire March 5, 1899.  It was reported that the family of 10 lived in a woodshed while the current farmhouse was being built. And we think we have it hard. When I purchased it in 1968 it was being used basically as a hunting camp. 
    It has been a slow struggle to renovate the place and keep the marauding jackers, hunters, trappers, etc. off the land. I’m still fighting to do that. Just had a telephone call from a hunter/trapper who purchased a nine-acre piece bordering my north line who informed me he was going to bow hunt, use a cross-bow, muzzle loader, use buckshot/SSG, (whatever), up until the end of October, and if a deer (he wounded) went on my land he’d have to dispense with it. 
    I told him I felt the piece was much too narrow with dwellings on both sides, a public highway in front, a lake in the back, and I use my driveway which runs parallel to his southern line. Didn’t matter – he’d checked with DNR and he was allowed. So I called the head honcho in DNR, Tusket, who assured me the hunter was within his rights. 
    My husband and I got out the aerial surveys, the plot plan of this guy’s domain and the 600 foot requirement from dwellings puts him well within the distance to those houses. There is a lock box at the highway for people to get their mail. (Nothing like getting killed by a crossbow when you’re getting your mail.) 
    Mind you, I’m not against hunting, but I am when it is under these circumstances. My father hunted, but he went miles into the hinterland, walked the barrens for hours to try and get a deer. Back then it was against the law to bait deer/bear. They didn’t sit in a tree or blind in camo clothing or have game cameras or airplanes to spot the deer either. I get upset when I see all these bags of deer apples, deer carrots being used for bait when there are people starving in the world. 
    Tell DvL my deer mice are on steroids, too. You need to be careful when handling them as they can transmit hantavirus, which is not a good one. It is not the four-legged critters you need to worry about at my farmhouse – it’s the two-legged ones!
Veralyn Bonnar
Hebron, N.S.

About control
RD: I was amused when reading that the Turkey Marketing Board considers Gordon Fraser’s operation “unsafe.”  The Board has conveniently forgotten that Maple Leaf Foods was responsible for 22 deaths (reported) due to a listeriosis outbreak in 2008.
    It’s not about safety Gordon. It’s all about control nowadays.
Dave Billings
Riverview, N.B.

(Dave, I imagine the Turkey Board remembers, but fails to consider the implications of the position it has taken. Lori Ansems, Port Williams turkey farmer and chair of the board of directors for the Turkey Marketing Board, told the Chronicle Herald (Oct. 6) that the decision “stems from a concern about food safety.” Asked his opinion of that position, CFIA supervisor and president of the Agricultural Union Bob Kingston attending the recent Food Secure Canada assembly in Halifax replied, “That’s b--- s---.” DvL)

We’ve gone beyond!
RD: You asked why I have not renewed my subscription after enjoying your magazine for several years. 
    My main reason is this: you have begun to include articles outside of your areas of expertise. Three examples: fracking, aquaculture, and now the Yarmouth ferry. You, like everyone else, can have opinions about everything. However, those opinions should be well founded and provide a balanced view.
    There is a fourth example. The week before the provincial election in fall of 2013, you ran a very interesting article about John Lohr. He was a candidate in the provincial riding of Kings North in that election. It is unfair to publish an article about a candidate unless you give equal coverage to all candidates. John Lohr won that riding by a tiny number of votes. In such a close election, I have no doubt that your article influenced that outcome, particularly in the farming areas of the riding.
    You did not know he was running? You should have.     
    So we are parting company. I wish you well, and hope that you will give some thought to the issues I have raised.
Nancy Smith
Port Wade, N.S.

Thoughtful stuff
RD: I’ve noticed something in just abut every issue that I make a mental note to write to you about but have never got around to it until this November issue when I read the column by Charlie Gracey on page 48.
    I had the pleasure of working with Charlie when I was on the executive of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association in the 1980s. He writes very thoughtful stuff and it is based on unique knowledge and experience. More of Charlie’s wisdom would be something to look for in future issues.
    A few random thoughts re farming today: “Small scale” doesn’t have to be “organic” to provide a living for a couple that wants the farming way of life. It is more important to develop the market first and then produce for it. Local is more important and “trust” on the part of a buyer is more important than certified organic which often increases the cost of production unnecessarily. Natural, sustainable production with generous inputs of responsibility and common sense seem most practical to me.
    Under today’s conditions small producers cannot produce “commodities” and survive the competition from low-cost areas and established commodity producers. Add value and market direct is the only way to go.
    That advice is free and worth what it costs you.
Glenn Ells
Canning, N.S.

A fortunate start
    I really enjoy Rural Delivery as I was born and grew up on a small mixed farm in Chester Basin. However, I realized I had artistic talent so I ran a small business called “Signs by Richie” from 1963 to 2001. Now when I read Rural Delivery I realize how fortunate I was to grow up on a small farm (50 acre playground).
    I enjoy playing music at the Ross Farm hand mowing championships; a great chance to use my musical talents and chat with down-to-earth people. I especially enjoyed chatting and playing with the young lady from British Columbia last August.
    Thank you and keep us close to the ground.
Richard Eldridge
Chester Basin, N.S.

(Richard, thanks. You were accompanying Kolibri Drobish from British Columbia. We published a photo of the two of you in the October issue. You were backed by Chantecler hens clucking enthusiastically from the sidelines. DvL)

No good reason
RD: I wish I could think of a good reason for dropping RD. You have an excellent magazine which covers the Atlantic region very well and appears to be well read, judging by the many “Letters to RD.”
    However I have decided to cut back on my magazine subscriptions since I am now in my 85th year and involved in several local clubs and church groups and often some magazines lay unread for weeks.
    I know that all sounds like a “cop out” but my decision remains. I thank you for asking and should I wish to join again at some future date I hope you will accept me.
Harry R. DeLong
Blockhouse, N.S.
(Harry, welcome back any time. Thank you for staying with us all these years. DvL)