January 30, 2008

Neophyte Blogger

This being my first attempt at blogging, I would like to explain my motivation and objectives. As an eighty-year-old farmer, and father of eight children, I feel an obligation to pass on some of the lessons I have learned from nearly fifty years of personal experience in farming. It is my hope that others may not only benefit from the things that turned out to be right but also avoid the things that went wrong.

I first felt the urge to chronicle my own farming experiences, a few years back, when I came to realize how much help I had received from others who had taken the time to record their lifeís experiences and knowledge in books which I had read. Although my first book, Defying the Odds, was written primarily for my own family, with no intention of publication, it was eventually published. But, being more autobiographical than instructive, it did not satisfy my desire to try to help future young farmers to avoid some of the pitfalls of farming that I had dealt with. So I wrote a second book.

The second book, But ñ What About Tomorrow?, both books were published by PublishAmerica, was written primarily for that purpose. Although I make no claim to expertise in anything, I feel that everyoneís life experiences contribute to the sum-total of knowledge and may be of some practical use to someone somewhere. It is a great pity that most people's life experiences are never recorded and are lost forever at their death.

But being published does not ensure being read. Unless a book gains the attention of the public it obviously will not be widely read. Publication and publicity are not synonymous. Unless one has access to broad publicity his books are not likely to be broadly read. Although I am not the least concerned about royalties (my Old Age Pension and modest farm income provide all the money I need) I would like to know that my attempt to help future farmers has not been a total waste of time and effort.

So...to Blogging. Being a neophyte in this media, I will have to learn on the job...which is essentially the story of my life.

With this inaugural posting, my plans are to initiate discussions about Sustainable Farming; farming in the post Peak-Oil future; preparing for Hard Times both in rural and urban lifestyles; Small scale farming; what we are doing and planning to do on our own farm; and other subjects that may come to mind or be suggested by readers of my blogs.

I also intend to periodically post segments of both of my published books, if and as interest is indicated, and possibly include a journal of activities here on our farm...such as the fact that yesterday morning we woke up to a minus 55 degree temperature and the problems associated with a hungry herd of cattle to feed and water. Farming in Alberta can be challenging.

Current Rant:

As a Canadian born citizen (raised in the United States, drafted into the U.S. Army, and a citizen of both countries but claiming Canadian only) I feel it is high time that we stand up to our Bully Buddies south of the border. Teddy Roosevelt often used the term 'Bully' to express admiration or approval, such as, "Bully for you!"—obviously meaning, "Good for you!" He also advocated that America, "Walk softly, but carry a big stick."

But, Bully has a totally different meaning nowadays. America, being the sole remaining superpower (temporarily anyway) still carries the big stick but no longer seems to feel the need to walk softly. Roosevelt's counsel appears to have evolved into, "Carry a big stick and trample those without one." (For detailed evidence in support of this, I highly recommend everyone read Rogue Nation, by Clyde Prestowitz, published in 2003 by Basic Books.)

There are a number of examples that could be cited to illustrate the American government's bullying tactics toward Canada, the softwood lumber trade issue for one, but, being a cattle producer, I'm more interested in the Bovine Spongyform Encephalopathy issue (BSE). The Americans claim that BSE is a health issue is BS. It is strictly a political issue, which is unlikely to be resolved until after their federal election this fall because Pretty Boy Georgie wont risk losing the votes of American cattlemen who are presently enjoying their highest prices in history. It is also political in that we Canadians are obviously being punished for not backing the Americans in the Iraq war…"You are either for us or against us", as Georgie said.

In my opinion, the best way to teach a bully a lesson, that he might remember, is to give him some of his own medicine. If I were in Prime Minister Paul Martin's position, I'd go down to the Oval Office and look Georgie squarely in the eye and tell him, "We're sick and tired of being bullied and we ain't gonna put up with it anymore! Now…as soon as you open up your borders to Canadian cattle, we'll turn your gas and oil lines back on. And there's a couple other things you might want to think about…you've had your eye on our fresh water for some time now and you've been pretty negligent about paying your United Nation's dues…maybe it's time to start acting more neighborly, eh."

What are they going to do about it…Nuke us?; precision bomb our parliament buildings?; stop all cross-border trade? As the whole world is learning, the last remaining Super Power is just a Paper Tiger...a Super Bully that needs to be taught a lesson in neighborliness.

Hope to hear from you...


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