Skip to content

two different views from the farm…

September 29, 2016

_mg_9750Modern definition of Cynicism: “An attitude of scornful or jaded negativity, especially a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of others.”

In the morning our Prime Minister glows amiably about the immediate and paramount need to deal with climate change and Aboriginal relations.

In the afternoon he approves a gas pipeline that will cut through pristine British Colombia wilderness, which is also through Aboriginal lands – for which the Aboriginal communities had withheld their consent.

Scornful and Jaded.


_mg_9853In the same week that Scotiabank announces that it is closing its branches in the tiny hamlets of Maynooth and Wilberforce, here in east-central Ontario, citing frugalities and tough times in the face of their customers complaining that they will now have to drive upwards of fifty kilometers to get to their bank, in that same week they also later announce record quarterly profits of very nearly two billion dollars.

The newspaper’s business section never mentioned the hamlets of Maynooth, nor Wilberforce.

General distrust of the integrity or professed motives of others.

_dsc8057It was my grandfather who first told me never to let the weasels run the hen house.


Obama says he is going to close Guantanamo Prison, only to sign a bill legalizing torture. (Something not even George Bush Jr. did.)

So now we have a Margaret Thatcher wanna-be up against Donald Duck in the US presidential election.

And people are leaning towards the duck.

_dsc7982And the media moans and groans and says it doesn’t understand why we would vote for the duck.

How else to protest?

The only other option is to use the ballot as toilet paper.


But the writing is on the wall. The people are murmuring – grow local, buy local, tiny home, off the grid, community gardening, bartering, open sourced, vegetarian, sustainable living…_dsc8059

_dsc7685From the ashes of the zombie apocalypse, mushrooms sprout.

At the end of the Roman Empire, the wisdom books were smuggled into Spain, and Syria. Hidden in caves, convents, mosques, synagogues.

Recited and transcribed by candlelight.

Reclaimed after the Plague.



For a while. And only for a few.

Now it is fewer still.

Soon we will be returning to the Bonfire of the Vanities…







worth a thousand words…

September 23, 2016

what is it about coyotes and moonlight?

September 18, 2016

If you happened to be in my part of the world, tonight, just after nine, you would have seen a magical moon rise. Mystical even. (Though I hate using that word, as it is greatly misused these days.)

But I have no other way to describe it. Far off on the eastern horizon a bank of storm clouds drifted off, back lit by the rising moon. The outer edges of the great cumulus clouds glowed a creamy orange, fantastical rimmed mountains, while underneath, in the dark, sheet lightening occasionally bounced back and forth – giving the clouds the illusion of some great beast coming to life.


All photos from two days ago – with the full moon – hand held camera

And then, precisely when the moon first broke from its cover, at the other end of our valley, coyotes began to yip, one, then two, then a chorus of yelps and whines and strangulations, sounding in the dark, under these stars, like minions from hell, who when struck by moonlight, wrench at their bodies in great pain.

Someone in our cafe tried to argue with me this past weekend that wolves sound much more ominous then coyotes. I disagree.

_dsc7911The wolf who lives with these coyotes also began to howl. For twenty seconds the coyotes went silent as he called at the moon. Stoic, majestic, noble, alone – those great long singular calls in the night – and then the shrill yips and howls of the coyotes struck up again, and my blood shrank, and I turned to locate the house, to see the light on in the kitchen window.

The moon, two days past its full, remained, throughout our walk, a deep creamy orange – harvest moon, pumpkin moon, the last moon of summer.

_dsc7916We walked to the edge of the pine forest, watching as our shadows grew strong, the world darkening into the black/blue night that only moonlight can produce.

Crickets, an odd frog, grasshoppers buzzing still in the warm air. A Kildeer screeched when we got too close, the cat jumped, one of the horses snorted.


yes, these are stars…

Rural nighttime under a big open sky.

Walking your dog under the dome of the big dark universe.




September rains…

September 18, 2016

_dsc4255After last night’s rain and today’s warm humidity, the farm smells of wet cedar and forest and goldenrod –

both of death and of the rut –

as if Pan and his Nymphs passed though in the night.

A warm and wet September forest reminds me of backseat romances, and haystacks, and pine needles.

There is a tinge of yellow in the canopy that was not there last week. And the closer to the ground the plant is, the more yellow it has become._dsc4269

The old timers say that because of the drought, the fall colors will happen fast and without much pizzazz this year. They say the leaves are already dying. Younger observers say the same thing, that they read it online.

The wind moves through the canopy, and water falls from the high leaves like a light passing shower.

Tap dancing, here, and there. Marco! Polo!

_mg_9744-2Thirty years ago 2 geese made our farm their spring and fall layover – a month-long resting place between wherever they go to further north in the spring, and when they pass going south in the fall.

The flock, now about 60 strong, fly over me, whooshing just above the trees, on their way to the back pond.

I like that we are a layover in a great seasonal migration.

Sure, it’s only about 60 geese who stop and visit, but they’re still family nevertheless.


the phoniest man alive…

September 17, 2016

I have always been fascinated by the “Bill Clinton” the mainstream media takes a lot of time to manufacture, in America.

The saxophone playing groovy hip-cat progressive happy kind of guy, the guy who runs a global non-profit charity (in his own name), fighting disease and injustice wherever he can. A man of modesty and conviction; someone we pine for in the wake of a Bush, and Obama, and a Trump. That he is hip with the Black community, the real first Black President of America.

And the actual shit fucker who de-regulated the banking industry – fully knowing what was to come – who took almost no heat for the 2008 bank collapse (by blaming his previous decisions on bad advisers  ) – the soulless politician who cut welfare to single mothers, who cut the education budget, who stood at the base of a Klu Klux Klan Monument in front of Black inmates (at a state prison) and said he would get tough on crime – the minion of Satan bomber of Middle eastern schools and African toothpaste factories.

(Our real gut-level fear of Hilary is that Bill was but the puppet, and Hilary is the Puppetmaster.)

Here is a brilliantly done review of just how Clinton manipulated race relations in America for his own political gain. It’s diabolical and evil and sad – Clinton knew this – but he did it anyway…

Oh Peter, talk dirty to me…

September 13, 2016

I was sitting in another room reading last night when I overheard Peter Mansbridge on TV say that when “we return from the commercial break, a look at the high cost of addiction”. (My mom was watching the 10pm news.)

And in the same way you are compelled to slow down when you pass a car accident I immediately knew I had to come out and get the Mother Corp’s take on the “state” of “addiction” in the country.

After 25 years working on the frontlines with the homeless and the addicted, I remain naively curious as to how the mainstream media views such issues.

Anyone who has worked on the frontlines of the homeless crisis – especially the crisis in our urban centers, where the homeless count into the thousands – know that the media is about 1,000,000 miles from understanding what is actually happening.

CBC is going to look at addiction.

Peter Mansbridge will come back after the commercial break in his sexy, super-serious voice, a voice that no one loves more than Mans does himself.


Say it again Peter!

Talk dirty sexy news to me!

Ooo, the shiverings.

And Mansbridge does come back from the commercial break – after an ad for why A&W has the best burgers in the country, after a promo for a new CBC show about journalists who put their lives on the line to cover a story (CBC Toronto, for its 11pm local news, opened with the lead story about garbage piling up in a alleyway behind a house in Mississauga. Just saying…), and a commercial for a local Jeep dealership – Mans does come back in his super-sexy/serious voice to tell us about the hot new drug on the street, fetanyl, and how it’s spreading through the addict community like a California grassfire.




But, as always, the CBC crackers don’t know shit about addictions (except maybe scotch, or nose candy), especially street addictions – nor do they have any clue to the colossal government mismanagement (all levels) of addiction treatment programs, best practices, or addiction’s deep relationship to abuse.

Not a clue!


Fentanyl has the potential to do to the drug addictions community what HIV did to the gay community in the 1980’s.

And it will be for entirely the same reason: larger community indifference and/or larger community hostility.

My father’s generation of homophobes believed faggots got exactly what they deserved – so HIV had a decade to freely spread before people realized it had jumped the queer fence and had moved into the so-called monogamous heterosexual bedrooms of the white middle class burbs.

By then, millions had died, and tens of millions were infected, both here, and around the world.

Do we really think any more of drug addicts?

Of course not!

Why do you think there is only one treatment space for every thousand addicts in Canada? Why do you think 95% of government treatment programs used in this country are outdated and fail?

Treatment programs that people working in best practice approaches (a few here, but mostly in Europe) will tell you will fail – with reams of statistics to back them up.

In Halifax (as but one example), the ten publicly funded opiate addiction spaces available to youth are only open to you if you also stop smoking before you enter the program. Because, you know, 95% of youth addicts smoke (Hello! Addictions!), and because, well, smoking is illegal if you are under 19.

So, tell a kid that they have to stay clean while in program, and they also have to stop smoking at the same time. Failure to do so, is grounds for immediate dismissal from the program.

If such a kid can make it through the 14-day program, they are then released back to wherever it was they came from, including the streets.

But of course this is what we do. Why would governments tie addiction support to housing support, and tie that to youth employment support and all of this to on-going addiction support and abuse therapy?

What are we raising? A nation of babies?

Why don’t we change their diapers too?

No, what addicts need is a little Old Testament moral fibre, tell them to pick themselves up by their bootstraps, and go out and get a job – stop acting like a bum!

As the CBC story last night noted, in 2012, in Vancouver, 14 people died of fentanyl drug overdoses. This year it is expected to be over 800.

Bums, all of them.

(And don’t get me started on the CBC whitewashed piece about the Crystal Serenity luxury cruise ship recently lurking in the far north that followed the fentanyl piece…)



September 10, 2016

_mg_9741(Preface for this story: For those who don’t know, we are currently back living on the 200 acre family farm, about 1 hr northeast of Peterborough, and about 10 minutes west of Bancroft.)


“My mom and I agree on many things in life, but one of the places our worldviews part ways is over “the lawn”.

As in, how to maintain it.


Whereas I see wild flowers as intimate things of beauty, and I want to leave them to grow wherever they may pop up in the lawn, my mom sees only weeds, and an unkept yard.

_DSC7095If we come across wild daisies in the back fields, or down by the creek, then they are wonderful and beautiful and we should pick an armful for a table bouquet.

_mg_9725The house may be walled with roses, tiger lilies, hydrangeas and a dozen other domesticated garden flowers, but the wild daisies, devil’s purse, golden rod, little purple pansies and a dozen other wildflowers are nothing more than weeds to be mowed under when one cuts the grass every fortnight. (*dandelions being the exception, as they herald the arrival of Spring!)_DSC4365

My mom, like all of us, is very much a creature to her time and place and perceived standing in society. She’s by no means overtly fussy as to the overall appearance of the grounds – she doesn’t have that OCD sense of the hyper-manicured yard (of which there are many – i.e. go to the burbs and look around.) – and she is as repulsed by a hill-billy junk yard as much as any garden snot from Forest Hill would ever be.

_DSC3861As long as we get enough rain to mean that the grass has to get cut every two weeks, then, for my mom, it is a good summer. When the grass needs to be cut every two weeks that means we have been getting enough rain for the garden as well, and for the forest, and for the animals. Every thing is a deep luscious green! Universal order is maintained.

We have bantered back and forth all summer about how many wild flowers I am going to leave in the lawn. To her credit, she does allow some batches to stay. Fifteen years ago my mother’s position was 0% wild flowers in the lawn. But I’ve worn her down a bit, with time, persistence, and the fact that she doesn’t cut the grass that much any more (she still can, and does, but is now slightly more willing at 76 to share the duties).

_mg_9551In a spectacular shift of view, she has proposed that we build a cedar fence along the front of the yard and then plant wild flowers all along the new fence. (Plus, as she notes, it would have the added bonus of allowing the horses to be our new lawnmowers, lawn ornaments, and lawn fertilizers.)

Obviously, it is still a controlled approach to allowing wild flowers in the yard, but an excellent compromise, nevertheless.


My mom, while having lived her entire life up here as a farmer, mother, butcher, baker, in the rural woods of Eastern Ontario, lives both with, and against nature – in the way many of the old timers do up here.

While I saw one of our 40 acre fields covered in daisies this summer as magical and wondrous, my farmer neighbour saw only a fallow field earning no money.

_DSC3734I once waxed lyrically to my 7-year-old daughter that the 150 white pines in the back woods of the farm were great-great-grandfathers who could whisper her secrets from another century, if she listened closely; my dad saw only board feet and 50 cord of wood (@$100/cord).

My mom takes it as a personal insult should a mouse find its way into the house. And if she, or her two well-trained cats haven’t disposed of it within 24hrs, we are neigh near the apocalypse.

So, whereas I get into one of those stoner yin-yang grooves about being in balance with Nature, my mother takes on more of the strict disciplinarian approach with Nature, keeping it in its place – outside; and within the parameters of the yard, under control.

Lest the neighbors think you poorly bred, or lazy, or worse yet, both.