Archive for April, 2011

We’ve had a wonderfully productive weekend so far and lots ahead of us yet. Yesterday a friend visited with his bobcat and dug three wide arched trenches. We’ll be digging the holes for our 225 trees in the trenches and filling them in with straw and mulch. This should help us with water capture and retention in our (normally) extremely dry environment. The arches themselves will create little microclimates on the property in addition to blocking some of the extremely cold north winds. Of course that’s dependent on the trees growing to full size which will require some time and deer proofing.

A neighbour also dropped off a tractor bucket full of manure for us. Most of it is a couple of years old and perfectly black and crumbly. Gorgeous for the gardens! So I spent yesterday moving compost into the gardens and turning it over. I expect the gardens will be even more productive this year than last and can’t wait to see them overflowing with life.

Shane asked if we could pay for the compost, or do anything in return. The farmer didn’t want any payment but suggested if we really wanted, we could help during calving season. Are you freaking kidding me? I’m in! I can’t wait! I’ve never done anything like that and am beside myself with excitement! It’s like asking someone how much you owe them and being offered a fifty dollar bill instead. Sweet!

dropping off manure

flooded but getting better

new garden ready for planting

getting started on the trench

one of several arched trenches

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Uh Oh

So I was out adding to my new garden yesterday when it struck me that something seemed different. Nothing immediately obvious but something… A scientist by trade, I find my keen observation skills still come in handy. I paced the property back and forth carefully surveying the scene and occasionally even stopping to listen for clues. Something was not quite right… But what?

And then I looked up at the house behind me. Oh shit. Half the roof is gone. That can’t be good.

a little more temporary than was intended

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Come on spring! I’m ready to get building and planting but the snow just won’t let up. On a positive note, many of my seeds have sprouted. I have three kinds of tomatoes growing, two kinds of squash, pumpkins, goji berries, and leeks. Quite a bit hasn’t managed to break the soil yet. I’m anxiously waiting on peppers, onions, strawberries and some potted herbs. We’re getting a good amount of sun, just not much heat.

I also built another raised bed garden I’m working on filling. It’s quite a large space, spanning 2/3 the length of the domestead, and we’re still getting blizzards so it’s slow going but I’m getting there. Today is clear and the wind has died down so it looks like a good day to work on the next layer. With winds between 40 and 70 kilometers an hour, putting straw down hasn’t been in the cards the last few days.

Next year I’ll build a more permanent frame for the new garden, probably earthbags or rammed earth, with a bench on the north side. This year is all about efficiency and getting as much done in as little time as possible. My very rough attempt at carpentry with wood that hasn’t been earmarked for other projects will have to do for now. Can’t wait until it’s booming with life!

Oh, and I’ve sustained my first injury of the year! (It’s kind of a ritual I have going, signals the start of the season.) Managed to pound my thumb not once but half a dozen times with the hammer. It feels pretty wrecked. You’d think I’d have been more careful after the first thwack but then you wouldn’t really know me. The good news is that I won’t lose the nail like I did on my toe last year. And I think with the first injury out of the way, we can officially call the season begun!

tiny little gojis

first frog of spring 🙂

start of new garden

mostly tomatoes

tomatoes and herbs

gojis, tomatoes & pumpkins

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I finally got around to watching the English language debate. (If, like me, you missed it you can catch it on ctv.ca.) Pretty pitiful. Shane and I have more stimulating debates at home. I’ll have to check out the French debate and see if there was any more substance but I kind of doubt it. Not a lot of serious talk (let alone talk grounded in facts) happening as far as I can tell.

I’m reminded of a line by Ayn Rand, “We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality.” It’s coming.

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It’s election time in Canada, an exciting time because it only happens once every sixteen weeks or so. The Governor General dissolved parliament upon the House finding that the Conservative government was in contempt of parliament, a historical judgment. I could write volumes on that alone but I’ll suppress my excitement and limit myself to the issue I find most pressing- the vote itself.

Needless to say when you have your fourth election inside of seven years, regardless of the seriousness of the charges behind the election call, there’s a bit of apathy among voters. Okay, a lot of apathy. In fairness, it’s not just due to the fact that we vote more often than we change our tires. There are no real options.

Vote blue, red, orange, green- in the end they all come out the same. It’s a little like buying no name ice cream and discovering that the “pink” tastes the same as the “white”, maybe a little more sugary. But certainly not a distinctive “pink” flavour, and surely not much different or better than the “white” version. This has been going on for some time.

Granted, I would personally like to see just about anyone other than the Conservatives run this country (except maybe the Liberals) but run it where? Into the ground? Who knows. I can’t even tell the difference between the Liberals and the Conservatives anymore. The NDP don’t strike me as being head and shoulders above the crowd insofar as actual policy or platform, but I do appreciate that they occasionally make noise in the House, other than the silly name calling others have resorted to and relied on for too many years now. And Green, well, I find it hard to take May seriously since she screwed up so many questions about Canada on a public broadcast a couple of years back. Hard to picture her running the country. But I digress… There are no really good options- period.

The problem, as I see it (and that’s the only opinion you’re likely to get here), is the system itself. It’s flawed. And failing. It’s been failing for a very long time. This party, that party… doesn’t matter. There’s no real accountability. The government will do whatever the f*ck the government wants to do- regardless of public opinion, without consulting us, and on our dime. Period.  Cuz that’s how we roll in Canada. Holla!

You’d have to completely dismantle the system in order to see any real change. And I hope to see that- one day. The point is, it’s not happening now. But that’s no reason to withhold your vote. I’ve heard it suggested that some people will not prop up a system that they do not support by voting. That logic falls flat. Voter turnout at our last election was approximated at 58% (of registered voters). Pretty low, huh? Didn’t change a thing.

Doing nothing does nothing. There is no movement in apathy. Nor is there in anger, unless that anger is directed in some productive manner and starts a movement. But it’s silly to think that sitting on your hands constitutes a ‘movement’. Harper’s government (as he’s renamed it) is already preparing for low voter turnout suggesting that it will occur because people are happy with the current government. That’s funny because the last historically low voter turnout resulted in a minority government for the Conservatives, so it doesn’t seem anyone is ‘happy’ with much at all. But there you go- if you don’t vote, you will still be counted as ‘supporting’ the current structure.

I would love to be able to throw my support behind some independent candidate with a solid platform. I would love to hear anyone talking about how these past years have seen our freedoms and culture eroded, our money misspent, and our people misled- preferably with some suggestion as to how we might turn this bus around. I would love to see the entire “party system” dismantled and with it the opportunity for people to mindlessly vote as a block. I would love to see democracy work in anything other than theory. Alas…

I live in Alberta, which all but guarantees Conservative support, so I’m used to dropping my ballot into the box with a sigh. But I’ll be damned if I won’t drop yet another. Until there is any ‘real’ alternative I’ll continue to exercise the only freedom I have. And I highly recommend that you do too. Be a rebel- vote. The majority won’t.


an older clip, but still funny, explaining Canadian politics after we prorogued Parliament a few years back


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