Friday, September 30, 2011

Election Time on the Island

Well, fall is in the air (although not as cruely as it can be) and while we still have soybeans to harvest, the farm is winding down a bit and I feel some rants building up.  Lucky for my brother Mark who seems to have missed them so much, he called me on the day that the local radio call-in show was talking about spanking kids just to see if I was as riled up as he hoped.  Fortunately for all Maritime listeners, I had turned off the radio when I heard the topic, knowing that I would be annoyed.  See Mom?  I've come a long way! 

Anyway, since it's election time and we all know how I love politics, I can't miss out on an opportunity to squeeze in a quick one before Monday's voting day. 
Firstly, elections on PEI (or at least since I've moved here) are fairly uneventful and mostly because the parties are all pretty much the same, with VERY similar platforms.  There's no ominpotent leader coming up with crazy crime bills and staring down the enemy.  There's no exciting left wing party who sneaks up from behind and makes a great showing.  There's no real engagement at all actually, as far as I can tell, this time around at least.
The one thing the Island DOES have, is an eccentric, without-credibility leader who has genuine good ideas, but simply cannot and NEVER WILL reach the people who would ever want to support her. I am talking of course about Sharon Labchuck, our Green party leader.  And it's no secret that I love the Greens, so it's not a party-bias thing.  She's an old hippy with passionate ideas who is will informed about the serious consequences of monocropping and large scale potato production and chemicals and the general evils of industrial anything.  The party platform is actually fairly sound.  It's based on a lot of long term solutions, so not something that any short sighted voter is interested in, but has really good ideas about preventing the problems before they start (reminscent of organic production perhaps?)  Elizabeth May came to PEI during the election and showed her support, and using the exact same platform as Sharon, sold a very believable, conceivable and desirable future based on voting Green.  Unfortunately for Elizabeth May, Sharon Labchuck continues to undo all her good work like the lose hem on a homemade broomstick skirt of many colours. 
For those who aren't familiar with Labchuck, she's the one who some years ago caused a stir when she posed in a potato field with nothing on but a gasmask. And I mean NOTHING.  In all the debates she answers virtually all of her questions with references to pesticides and poisons.  She came out yesterday saying that we should ban hunting completely. 
As Mark and I heard that on the radio we shared a wincing eye roll and Mark began to tell me a story he was told by a friend who heard it from his uncle about how Sharon had attended a local community meeting called to discuss recent coyote kills of livestock.  As the story progressed I quickly recognized it as an old sheep joke, frequently told in appropriate (or inappropriate as it may be) circles by old farmers.  In that moment it occured to me that since the story was being told locally as gospel, but was actually a fictional internet joke of yore, Labchuck had truly lost every credibility as a legitimate candidate.  When a ridiculous joke seems plausible because your character is so out there, how can you expect people to follow and support you? 
So, the Greens are out.
The NDP on the Island are run by a bit of a buffoon who's been in the news over his own financial problems so not exactly instilling the highest level of economic confidence.
There's a real, tangible rural/urban divide in the Liberal party and platform with the rural not the side coming out on top.  To top that off, my own Liberal candidate lied to my face when he came canvassing at my door and he's generally a bit of a fool.  I have a personal rule that people shouldn't be politicians if my 2 year old could beat them at a 4-H public speaking competition and poor Georgie falls into that category the minute he opens his mouth.  And he was the Minister of Ag last time around for heaven's sake!  So, he's out (although will be back in I'm sure-since he's a potato farmer, in potato country).
That leaves me with the Tories.  Can you believe it.  This has come down to the lesser of the evils which is always a sad day for politics anywhere.  I actually really like the Conservative leader and not just because she's a feisty woman throwing her leadership in the face of all those old white haired big-and-small-C-conservative men who are still raw over her winning the convention.  I actually believe her convictions which is more than I can say for Ghiz.  When my local candidate showed up, I thought he was here to buy chicken until he finally introduced himself at the end of the conversation, but he seemed very sincere as well.  (My dad would say that it's easy to be sincere if you don't stand a chance of winning.)
So what is a green-blooded, Tory-bred, political-loving girl to do!? 
Ruin my ballot?  Surely not!

But alas, what will Monday bring?  More of the same.  More of the same.  More of the same.

Since you made it to the end of this rant, here's a funny bit from the Rick Mercer Report for your enjoyment.  So apt, in true Mercer style. 
 

Hope this finds you enjoying these cool nights and finding it tricky to crawl out of the warm bed with the fresh morning breeze blowing in the window.  Here's hoping the frost hasn't found your garden yet, although we had a dandy a couple mornings ago.  So thick the grass crunched under our feet. Winter is indeed en route.

-Sally

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Summer Vacation

Well, it's definately a bad sign for a blog when the author has to check in to see when they last wrote, to make a new post.  I think about the blog often, so if the old adage that "it's the thought that counts", than I've been counting.  Unfortunately that doesn't count for much in Blog Land.  But, I'm back!  And hopefully more frequently.  Thayne is on a regular sleeping schedule (knock on wood) and the evenings are getting quieter as the days get shorter, so it will be much easier to find time to share some tales from the Barnyard clan. 

Here's a few shots from the last couple months:

Thayne enjoying some top quality NB river mud on a trip home to West Branch.
It was one of the rare really hot weekends at home and I thought seeing the milk cow out in the pond was hilarious.  I've never seen a cow willingly walk into the pond before and thought it was a good indicator of "it was so hot that...."


I love this shot from the back of the combine while Mark was harvesting our best wheat field-a real matter of pride in this 'year of the wet and the weeds'.   

My little Massey Ferguson model

For our anniversary this year (5 years already!), Mark and I took the kids and ventured all the way down to the Annapolis Valley for a great visit with some NSAC friends.  I spent a lot of time before we went stressing about taking the kids, but it turned out to be really fun and we made some great, simple memories. 




Thayne is growing like the baddest weed around. I feel like the blender has become another appendage as he's not quite up to the chewing stage yet, but is up to the adult serving size stage already. 

We shipped Poppy earlier this month and today I spent some time at the butcher's learning how to cut and help wrap.  It was a fantastic little family business and I had a great time.  They don't often see a carcass quite as...er...well-marbled as that one.  Mark and I had a couple fresh steaks for supper and we're pretty sure it's the same as Kobe beef; the kind from Japan where they massage the cattle and feed them wine and crazy stuff like that.  After this last month when, after we shipped Poppy, we had to milk the cow out completely rather than leave it for the calf, I can see how much cream that creature was actually getting, and it makes my heart stop in fear.  But damn, it was a some GOOD beef. 

Anyway, harvest is going very well.  The barley and wheat this year was incredible and what we lacked in yield (which was actually really good) we made up for with the size of the kernels.  It's always a good sign when you have to change the sieves on the cleaner because the kernels are so big.  Mark just finished the oats today and that yield was 'unbelievable' apparently.  Not having enough space to put them is a good problem to have.  Anyone need oats?   The field peas had a good showing too.  Here's hoping the soybeans come off better than expected (although that isn't saying much, since expectations are pretty low this year). 
Our trial with some fish fertilizer really seemed to pay off so that will probably a new input that we take a closer look at.  And now that we're getting organic hog manure from our main customer, soil nutrition is not the urgent concern it once was around here, although it's always a priority. 

Currently, we're getting the fall cereals in the ground and getting the harvest tidied up and put away.  And by 'we', I mean Mark and Wendell.  I'm a contented bystander these days for the most part. 
If you happen to be on PEI Sunday, October 2nd there is an event happening in Charlottetown that is a fantastic time and WELL-Worth the $35 ticket (which you can buy online HERE or at Sobey's across the Island). Great entertainment, kids activities, an interesting guest speaker and most importantly, a varied and delicious array of 100% PEI organic grub prepared by a couple of the Island's best chefs.  We will be there with bells on.  The kids had a great time last year and so did we.  Come on out and support the Certified Organic Producers Coop!       


Looking forward to more posts coming soon!
Hope this finds you looking forward to the prospect of autumn and the calmer days of a long cold winter.  I am. 

-Sally