March 11, 2009

25th Book Excerpts

Another Day on the Farm:

The calendar says it's spring ... but we're still up to our knees in winter.

Current Rant:

I don't pretend to understand the Stock Market, but I doubt that makes me unique. It was originally designed as a portal to the business world whereby people could invest money to capitalize member businesses in the hope of sharing in profits. Of course it still serves that purpose...but it seems to me that it has deteriorated into something far less useful and benign. I get the impression, from the wild up and down fluctuations, for indiscernible and questionable reasons, that it now serves more as a casino for wealthy parasites to manipulate stock values for personal gain at the risk of destroying the whole economy.

Even in "normal times" such capricious behavior is counter productive but now, when the global economy is balanced on the brink of collapse, it is unconscionable! Of course it's obvious why these SOB's behave as they do...the more the stock market fluctuates up and down the more opportunities there are to buy low and sell high. The only good thing I can see resulting from a complete economic collapse is that these greedy blood sucking parasites that caused it will go down with the rest of us and maybe a few of them will blow their brains out.

I agree that there must be more government regulation of the banking system...if not nationalism...but what about the stock market? Should we ordinary citizens...the blue collar masses that provide the labor that drives the entire economy...not have some regulatory protection from the insatiable greed of a few wealthy Wall Street parasites?

25th Excerpt from “Farmageddon”
(My latest unfinished book)

(I am still in the process of writing this book. Further excerpts will be posted as the book progresses.)

25th Excerpt from “Defying the Odds”
(Available from

Home At Last…

It took us about three hours to drive from Edmonton to the farm with our overloaded vehicles. Guy was riding with me in the truck and the rest of the family, with Cliff driving, followed in the station wagon. The date was June 12, 1962…our fourteenth wedding anniversary.

It was a long tiring drive for everyone. Guy kept me busy answering questions. It was a great adventure and he was interested in everything. I could only imagine the conversation going on back in the station wagon, but I knew they were as anxious as I to get to the farm. The closer we got to home, the worse the road became, but it was June so at least is wasn't rutted and muddy.

At last we arrived at the farm driveway. The Spruce trees, which lined both sides of the driveway, obscured the buildings from the road. As we emerged from the Spruce tunnel, a small village of buildings popped into view. Dad stood out in front of the blacksmith shop…the building with smoke rising from its chimney. He had been doing some work at the forge and still held a hammer in his hand as he watched us drive in. Since he had been looking for us for several days, and was beginning to worry a bit, he greeted us with an emotional welcome. The kids immediately scattered in every direction to explore the mysteries of the buildings.

I could hardly wait to show Betty around and see her reaction to our new home. It must have been a shock for her when we went into the house. Although the Fertigs had moved all of their belongings out, our stuff, from the two previous trips, was piled every place. There was hardly room to walk between piles as it was, and now we had three more vehicles to unload.

After moving the heaviest appliances into the house and arranging things enough to clear paths through the rooms, we all went outside to look around. It was a happy exciting time. Dad pointed out all the repairs and improvements he had made while I was away, as the boys ran about ecstatically discovering the wonders of their new world. To my relief, Betty appeared to be equally interested and enthusiastic…in her quieter way.

Dad was anxious to go back home. He had been away for over a month…time enough to have exchanged letters with mom. Right after breakfast the next morning, dad and Cliff left for Washington. Dad said he would be back in the fall to help with our first harvest. I know he was leaving with deep regrets because he had seriously planned to join me in partnership. We had talked for hours about it while searching for a farm and during the long quiet evenings we spent together in the past few weeks. Then a single letter from mom brought those plans to a halt and ended dad's life-long dream of returning to farming. It was also the end of a period of closeness that he and I had never before experienced. Our respect and love for each other had grown significantly during this time together. We had become close friends.

After Dad and Cliff left, and we were all alone for the first time, I felt a strong sense of responsibility for the situation I had placed my family in. The confidence was still there, but some negative thoughts cropped up occasionally. However, there was no feeling of regret or the desire to quit. It was more of a moment of truth…this venture had to work and it was my responsibility to make it work. There would be help…I was not alone…but still the final responsibility was on my head.

Without stubborn determination there would be little chance of making it. But, determination alone is not enough. There was a lot to learn and little room for error. The sense of relief that our first crop was seeded was dampened by the realization that in just three short months that crop must be harvested, and I know practically nothing about the procedures or the machinery involved.

Summer work on small farms, during my high school years, had taught me a little about haying but nothing about harvesting grain crops. And even that meager experience had been with horse drawn machinery. Not only had I never used tractor powered machinery, I did not even know the proper way to connect a tractor to an implement…a simple matter of dropping a pin into a hole in the draw bar.

Another thing to be coped with was the fact that no paycheck would becoming in every second week. This was the first time I'd been in such a situation since my sixteenth birthday. The few dollars we still had left would have to keep us going until there was grain to sell in the fall. Everything…groceries, fuel, supplies, repair parts…had to be paid for in cash. Credit was out of the question. Who would be so foolish as to extend credit to such long shot?

But, as usual, the solution was simple: Get at it! Learn as much as possible before harvest time. Look over the machines and figure out how they work. Clean them up. See if anything needs repair. Try them out by driving or pulling them around the yard. Put the belts on the threshing machine…see which way the pulleys run. Go through all the stuff in all the little log buildings. Try to sort the useful tools and equipment from the countless things that had accumulated over many years of farming—by people who had known hard times and had learned never to throw anything away which might be of use someday.

The days go by quickly. It is an interesting time. Each day something new is learned or discovered. There is a growing sense of confidence with every newly gained bit of understanding. Several truck loads of obviously useless things are sorted out and hauled to the dump.

To be continued next time…

25th Excerpt from “But…What About Tomorrow?
(Available from

Water Pollution:

In a reverse way, the tragedy of the commons applies to the problem of pollution. Here it is not a question of taking something out of the commons, but of putting something in … sewage, chemicals, etc. The reasons for putting things in are much the same as the reasons given for taking things out. The individual finds that discharging his waste into the commons is less costly than the cost of preventing his waste from being released into the commons. Since this is true for everyone, as long as we behave as independent private free-enterprisers, we find ourselves locked into a system of "fouling the public nest".

Privately owned property, on the other hand, is not usually as susceptible to this sort of abuse…rational people tend to refrain from soiling their own nests. So it would seem that the tragedy of the commons as a cesspool must be averted by a different means … by punitive laws or taxation perhaps. Unfortunately for the environment, our concept of private property, while somewhat of a deterrent to wastage of resources, tends to foster pollution.

The pollution problem is a direct consequence of expanded population. It did not matter much how an isolated American frontier family disposed of their waste. "Flowing water purifies itself every ten miles," was a popular myth of the time. But as the population became denser, Nature's chemical and biological recycling processes became overloaded. So now, in our typically idiotic short-sighted way, we compound the problem by diluting our excrement with millions of gallons of pure water before dumping it into our once pristine rivers and lakes.

Confinement livestock production often causes surface and ground water pollution, particularly where large numbers of animals are concerned. Although waste is a problem of almost all such operations, and must be properly managed with respect to both the environment and the quality of life in nearby communities, it is obviously much less of a problem when the waste can be profitably used right on the farm where it is produced. Livestock farms that disperse stock in pastures, so the wastes are not concentrated and do not overwhelm natural nutrient cycling processes, are the ideal solution to the problem. Enough said.

To be continued next time…

I would like very much to hear from you! You may send your comments by clicking either the Comments or the Letter icon below. Thank you…Have a warm day…


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