Embracing the country life

Part 2 of the retirement dilemma: city mouse or country mouse? It's time to put an end to urban living

Embracing the country lifeWe began to embrace country life in 2004 when we bought recreational property at the north end of the Sunshine Coast, two ferry rides and about 100 km of driving up-coast from Vancouver. Still living in Calgary, we knew it was time to start planning for retirement and the post-work world. Our 24 acres fronts…

The retirement dilemma: city mouse or country mouse?

Part 1: Defining the attributes of your successful retirement community

The retirement dilemma: city mouse or country mouse?Who says you have to go on living in the same location when you retire? The choice is yours. City or country retirement is ultimately a personal decision. But it draws significantly on your prior life, and the skills and personal attributes you can bring to the retirement community you choose. How you retire is…

Split firewood and enduring friendships

A weekend rigorously scheduled, egalitarian, task-focused and bathed in a bonding humour

Split firewood and enduring friendshipsThe chainsaw, sledge and wedges are back in the woodshed. The winter wood is split and stacked. Steve and Dave have headed home to their busy lives; Johnnie and James have promised to redouble their efforts to attend next year. And I’m once again pondering the strength of a growing tradition: Wood Camp at Skelhp.…

Farm industry upheaval brings a way of life to an end

Prairie towns and villages are becoming relics of the past. Formerly bustling main streets are lined with boarded-up businesses, inhabited by aging retirees who carry the memories of a bygone era

Farm industry upheaval brings a way of life to an endWhat do you think is Canada’s riskiest business? Childhood on our family farm taught me the answer to that question. Despite years of heartbreaking disappointments, my father was a perfect example of the adage “hope springs eternal.” Each spring, he would sing happily on our tractor while seeding wheat, barley and oats. Then we hoped…

Canadian agriculture outlook uncertain: TD

Canadian agriculture outlook uncertain: TDTrade uncertainty and oversupply have added a considerable amount of uncertainty to this year’s agricultural outlook, says a report released on Wednesday by TD Economics.  The Canadian Agriculture Outlook said oilseeds in particular are expected to weigh on cash receipts and increase storage costs. “That said, there are several pockets of optimism. In the near…

Localized and personalized: how to keep culture relevant

The world of arts and culture offers lots of examples of gross expense and imported notions of what’s important. But there are alternatives

Localized and personalized: how to keep culture relevantHow are the National Post and the Globe and Mail doing in your neighbourhood? In Powell River, the big Toronto newspapers are on their last boomer gasp at the newsstands. In their place, piles of the weekly Powell River Peak and monthly Powell River Living fly off the counters and adjacent distribution boxes. The local…

Spring semester begins at Skelhp

Some familiar buzzes, croaks and tweets and a new cat-like cry as the turning of the seasons teaches anew

Spring semester begins at SkelhpMy British Museum 2019 Diary proclaims the vernal equinox arrived on March 20 this year, with a cryptic little note: “Spring begins.” At Skelhp, we already knew. In fact, I think spring began on Sunday, March 10, when we descended artfully on the deer-fenced garden with pruning clippers to shape some apple and cherry trees.…

You never really know what’s following you until it snows

I’ve adjusted my solo walk schedule and try to be alert to the possibility that a cougar is lurking

You never really know what’s following you until it snowsWe joke in our family about my living a city-mouse/country-mouse existence. Part of the time, I live in a 600-square-foot Vancouver condo and part of the time I live with the land at Skelhp on the Sunshine coast. In Vancouver, I’m visually connected to pigeons, seagulls, and the 4 p.m. return flight of northwestern crows,…

Food-related issues are widening Canada’s rural-urban gap

For years, farmers have tried to tell their stories through social media and elsewhere – and too often failed

Food-related issues are widening Canada’s rural-urban gapFor years, farmers have tried to convey their message and explain the agriculture and rural lifestyle to the broader Canadian populace. They’ve taken to social media with touching stories and countless messages, telling Canadians what things are like on the farm. Some have called this “agvocacy.” But the new Canada’s Food Guide and recent policy…

Learning to cope with the gradual onset of climate change

As spring beckons after four previous very dry springs and four summers of smoke, we should prepare for the worst

Learning to cope with the gradual onset of climate changeA funny thing happened in Powell River, B.C., the other day. There was a scheduled one-hour power outage that I heard about on the radio as I was driving the 30 kilometres into town to do some errands. No big deal, I thought. Lights out in the mall perhaps. My first stop was at the…
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