RD July-August 2014 Letters

Mowing in style
RD: I built a tractor from a heap of parts from a 1941 Willys jeep – crank, radiator, carburetor, coil, steering system including steering wheel, water pump, shifting lever, and head with original spark plugs. Its gas tank, fenders, and air filter are from Allis Chalmers tractors. 
    The brake and clutch peddles, draw bar, hydraulic levers, and gas control are off I.H. tractors, plus lots of chain drivers from an I.H. grain drill. There’s an “ooga” horn also on it. 
    The 20” front wheels are iron wheelbarrow wheels. Back wheels are 48” by 6” rubber-treated cast iron. The seat is off an old Oliver plow. The PTO pulley is off an 8N Ford. It also has a kerosene Amish buggy light on the left side. The grill is off a Belarus; the muffler off a McGee exhaust manifold from a 1953 Super H.
    I display my tractor hooked to a double-horse Deering mowing machine.
Phil Harris
Digby, N.S.

Thanks for Lyme disease story
RD: Thank you so much for your article on Lyme disease. Hopefully it will help increase awareness, diagnosis, and affordable treatment for anyone infected. We have a support group, which is very helpful. I also have Lyme disease.
Darleen Dewar
Fredericton, N.B.

Test unreliable
RD: I live in Neguac, New Brunswick, and I have Lyme disease and Bartonella, a co-infection of Lyme. I went through a very hard time to get treated as I tested a false negative on the very unreliable and flawed Lyme ELISA test. I can identify and sympathize with Rose Doucet’s experience.
Michelle Robichaud
Neguac, N.B.

Frustrating experience
RD: My husband was one the lucky ones to find treatment for Lyme and is now completely off of his meds and is living a very healthy life.
    It all started when my husband and I went on a mini-vacation down to Wells, Maine, on the long weekend in May 2011. We brought our dog along as well. While there, our dog went into a wet area around our campsite.
    When we got back from our vacation, just about a week later, my husband came out of the shower all concerned about a rash on his chest. We let it go. Then he started to experience flu-like symptoms. As the weeks went by he was getting weaker, and started having muscle problems. 
    He went to see his doctor and was sent to an arthritis specialist and put on Celebrex. The symptoms were not going away. I decided to do some research on the Internet and found a site showing symptoms for Lyme disease. He had a very high percentage of the symptoms.
    His doctor sent him for testing for Lyme here in Fredericton and also sent a blood sample to Winnepeg. Both of the ELISA tests came back negative. Long story short, we got a Lyme Kit and had it sent off to an IGeneX Lab in California. It came back saying that he tested positive for Lyme and two other strains as well. He ended up going to a doctor in Plattsburg, N.Y., for two years. He was cured of any of the previous symptoms and is now living a very healthy life.
    We do not feel it fair that Canadians do not have coverage and must travel out of the province to be treated for this disease. We also don’t agree that the same testing can’t be done here in Canada as well. Over all, it was a very expensive, very frustrating and stressful experience for both of us.
Jodi and Clayton McKeil
Fredericton, N.B.

For better testing
RD: Your Article by Rose Doucet on Lyme disease was well written and I believe very actuate. She, like many others I have met, have fallen ill with this disease that is not so much life-threatening, but is a terribly life-debilitating. My son has experienced all the things (symptoms) written about, but over a far greater period of time. 
    On several occasions over the years I read about Lyme disease and considered the possibility my son might have it.  The inadequate testing available in this country always suggested he did not.
    Thankfully, we have run into a few people that have had some success with the American medical system where there are at least some specialists and a willingness to look at and treat Lyme disease. Unfortunately, I’m sorry to say, here in New Brunswick, and Canada in general, we seem to have a long way to go before our medical community will be able and (or) willing to properly address this serious problem.We need better testing and, for sure, some specialists in the field to support the open-minded MDs that are out there but whose hands appear tied.
Steven Knox, father of a Lyme sufferer.
Burton, N.B.

Working our fields
RD: The May issue of Rural Delivery was another good read. The stories were, as usual with RD, both uplifting and educational. The cover headline “Plentiful Pastures” caught my eye in particular. Thinking about it an unexpected thing happened, I remembered some lyrics of a song, “Pastures of Plenty,” that was penned by Woody Guthrie. It tells of the rural people who, after losing their homes and crops to back-to-back droughts in the1930s, migrated from the Midwest U.S. to work the farms of the West Coast. I believe the song was part of the soundtrack to the movie, “The Grapes of Wrath.”
    The relevance of the theme of “Pastures of Plenty” continues. Rural people continue to be numerous in the ranks of economic refugees. Other than the recent national coverage of the “foreign worker” program, I don’t see much mention anywhere of our non land-holding farmers. I’d love to see an article or series in RD that would shed light on the lives of  modern day farm employees both local and migrant who work our Maritime fields.
Jonathan Langille
Halifax, N.S.

Versitile tool
RD: This is a versatile garden hand tool useful for working in small areas for weeding and aerating the soil. It is easily made from the broken tyne of a potato fork, with a block of hard wood for a handle. The shorter one has worn down from many years of use. I have made many and given them friends. All have found them very useful. I hope readers of Rural Delivery will try it out.
Geoffrey Webster
Ste. Anne de Bellevue, QC 

Would one inch do?
RD: I’m writing concerning the “Make your own bed” article in the May issue of Rural Delivery. I’ve been trying to gauge the thickness of the boards on the pictures, rather unsuccessfully. I’m simply wondering if one-inch boards could do the job or if they would be too flimsy. By the way, I love your down-to-earth (no pun intended) magazine!
Marie-Marthe Jalbert
L’Orignal, Ont.

(Marie-Marthe, we contacted writer Dorothy Diamond with your question. She says that one-inch boards are fine. If you have enough lumber you might double them up for greater thickness. The thinner the boards the more they might curve outwards after the soil settles, and the more stakes you might need outside to keep them straight. Additional stakes can be put in later, which is what Dorothy does the second year after making the beds, digging deep along the edges to straighten as needed. DvL)

Protection from predators
RD: I appreciate your sending me copies of your May issue of Rural Delivery. I was impressed by the quality of the magazine, and the value of the information provided subscribers. Having nursed a commercial sheep flock for 20 years, I particularly enjoyed the articles of sheep production, but not only those articles, as I have made haystacks, and my wife is secretary of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists.
    I can add a couple of comments to the article on electric fencing, from the aspect of predator protection. I first used a Gallagher energizer with a six-wire system, alternating live and ground. That was 1978, when I bought my first lamb to counter my daughter’s passion to have a horse. There had been no predator proof fences in this area when I built it, and the first night I energized the fence there were wild howls as the learning curve was imposed. 
    This is an area with a medium coyote load, and the occasional wolf, and the fence was adequate for the time. I attended a program put on by the Ontario Sheep Marketing Agency last summer, and found that little new had been added to the protective repertoire of the modern sheep farmer in the last 15 years. There is certainly a better understanding of the coyote’s behavior, and the coyote has become smarter. Many producers in high risk areas are now doubling up their defenses, for example using fences and guard dogs.
    Ontario has a compensation program that takes some of the sting out of losses, but all await the panacea that will make coyotes revolt at the idea of killing a lamb. In the meantime, good grounding, proper installation of the wires, and clearing vegetation will get the best results from fences. Personally, I feel that dogs can be effective as a pro-active defense, but dogs and I don’t get on. I also know of some producers whose dogs have been overwhelmed by a multitude of coyotes, and have simply given up.  
Eugene L. Fytche
Almonte, Ont.

Mystery of the B Model Mack
RD: Michael T. Wall sent me a copy of Rural Delivery. Enjoyed reading the whole issue. Really enjoyed pages 56 and 57 (“Echoes,” April issue). “The Junkyard Song.” by Hal Willis was a big song in Manitoba. I loved it.
    My friend Bob Reimer drove B Model Mack trucks all over the U.S.A. and Canada. He wrote a song about the old trucks, “Whatever Happened to the B Model Mack,” and had me put it to music. My question is, what did happen to the old B Model Mack trucks? Can you get an answer to this question? I drove for Eaton’s for 38 years and I know they went broke.
    Thanks for the great issue and article.
Thomas A. Kuzyk
Winnpeg, Manitoba

(To hear “Whatever Happened to the B Model Mack” on YouTube click on the “B Model Mack” link on RuralLife.ca.)