Thursday, February 23, 2023

Let the Games Begin

I've been spending the last few days trying to figure out why I haven't been reading commentaries like the one I'm about the make.  Is there some risk to one's social license? Is it politically dangerous or unpopular? There must be some reason because surely I am not the only one critical of the current wave of temporary green and blue garbage covering the Island in the name of the Canada Games. 

In a province crumbling under a health care crisis, dealing with their first real experience of a significant community of folks suffering from homelessness, still very much in recovery from a hurricane and shaking off the weights of pandemic restrictions, it is truly astounding that no opposition politician is asking a single question regarding the budget for the Games and how any (inevitable) overages will be managed. 

Tickets for P.E.I.'s Canada Games selling well, say officials | CBC News

One oil truck driver claimed that he has been dispatched to the nordic trails every day since November, to fuel up a generator for a snow-making machine, which made the snow onto a wagon that hauled it into the woods by a Games-purchased tractor, only to melt over the following days. Like some kind of manic, oblivious manifesting would keep this mild winter at bay and continuing to throw money at the problem would solve Mother Nature's shortfalls in the snow department. 

That is but ONE tiny part of this massive undertaking, so lauded as the saviour to the local economy. A local economy that is seeing a VERY significant portion of its population gone to the tropics, taking advantage of the unnecessary extra week of holidays as a result of the Games.

But my questions about foolish choices and over-spending are nothing compared to the shock I'm experiencing from the lack of empathy or consideration for the folks hardest hit by this whole show of fiscal foolishness. Working parents who cannot afford to take one or two week's vacation and must now find child care that they also cannot afford for the extra time their kids have off school. And those lower and middle income kids for whom even the $10 entry fee to any of the events is cost prohibitive.

So essentially, we've asked the folks who are already hurting, to take on just a little extra financial stress in the name of the goddamned Games, that are not even accessible to them. 

Perhaps the thing that irks me most, is that rather than standing up and giving me a hint that any of the politicians share even one of my concerns, they're all too eager to get big toothy photo ops with the Games mascot, Wowkwis, causing one to wonder which has more stuffing in their head. With the writ expected to be dropped before the green and blue banners have even been taken down, or the jackets taken to the Value Village bin, there is a drunken energy in the air around any incumbent, no matter the colour. The tone-deafness of politicians celebrating about taking in multiple events, during most people's working hours while for many families, even one event would exceed the entertainment budget of many households, rather than taking the opportunity to take the government to task is a bit of a shock. 

If I have to see one more picture of a local politician with their arms around that fuzzy, big-headed fox, grinning like fools, expecting that their enthusiasm for this show of money and mismanagement will impress me, they can Wowkwis me arse.

Edna Flood - Chief Operating Officer - 2023 Canada Winter Games | LinkedIn

Friday, February 3, 2023

Extreme Cold Prep

 Frigid. Arctic. Extreme cold.  Whatever you want to call it, the weather is finally doing what it's supposed to be doing, which is to say, getting cold. Perhaps a bit colder than we'd all like and maybe for not quite as long as the traditional "two-week cold snap" we often encounter in January or February but at least this winter we're going to get temperatures cold enough to hopefully give some of those summertime pests a dent. Last year's mosquitos seemed more numerous and voracious than I ever remember (do I say that every year?) and I attributed it to the too-mild winter. So I'm hoping that when I'm walking out to water the bull on Saturday morning in -50 degree, 100km/hr winds, I'll remember those August nights of mosquito swarms while I shut in the hens. 

The curls on Beowulf, the Belted Bull. Doesn't he have the best head?

I know the Galloway cattle are better prepared than most for cold temperatures. Their ears are covered in long, shaggy hair and they've got curls for days all over their heads.  Their thick coat is lush, they're pretty fat and they've got pretty stellar instincts.  Combined with the barn I shouldn't think twice, but of course I worry and wonder if there's more I should do. One of the girls seems to have shed some of her ear hair and I know when I'm laying in bed on Saturday night I'll be wondering about her ears. Oh #13, I hope you snuggle up close with #16 who seems blessed with especially long hair. 

We've had to designate one cattle barn as beef and the other as dairy, which is hilarious, given that only one inhabitant produces milk but "the cow barn" was leading to far too much miscommunication in a relationship that already has its fair share of communication mishaps.

Anyway, the dairy barn is housing the beef heifers while they are weaned, along with Petunia, and their door is to the west so we're planning to shut it once things start to really cool off but the heifers have never really been in a barn, and are still a little worked up about the weaning so I hope they appreciate the warmth more than they're stressed about being shut in. 

The other animals of concern are the hens, who will hopefully avoid any frostbitten combs. We put plastic over their windows and made alternative watering arrangements for when it inevitably freezes up. I'll give them some cracked corn the next couple evenings to warm them up from the inside out while they sleep and try to gather the eggs every hour or so in the mornings. 

Other than that, I'll be curious to see if Hagrid, the maremma opts to head to the barn at night. He so loves the cold and snow that it's so rare to see him choose the indoors, but Lennox, the Australian shepherd has been sleeping in the barn at night for a few weeks now. 

As for me, I'm off to NB to pick up our bacon and hams and sausage from our favourite butcher and tuck in with my parents in what we jokingly are calling the hottest place on earth, which is my Mom's kitchen with her sweltering wood stove working overtime at all times. Mark is going to hold down the fort, on pipe duty and Lucy is going to be on egg gathering and animal watering. 

In unrelated news, I have been having a horrible week on the board game/card game front. I have lost miserably and I don't just mean not first. I mean, I've been bringing up the rear in the score of a 5 person game! I am not accustomed to this, nor comfortable with it.  Last night after losing badly in Carcasonne, I insisted on Five Crowns, which I promptly lost as well by 200 points. I was tempted to insist on one more game of something in an attempt at redemption, but opted instead to go to bed, knowing if I lost another one I'd hardly be able to sleep.  Ugh. Tonight is hockey, so let's hope my losing streak doesn't translate to the ice!

I'm trying to think about what my future self might want to read and I think they will feel like I'm already stretching it with board game stats, so I'll sign off for now. 

May this find you putting up your thermal curtains and digging out your heaviest quilts and looking forward to the hunkering down.