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…

Preserving Bighorn too important for political squabbles

Natural beauty distinguishes Alberta from so many places. Let’s follow the will of the majority and protect this beautiful region

Preserving Bighorn too important for political squabblesIt’s disappointing to see that the Alberta government's proposal to create new protected areas in west-central Alberta has led to a partisan political brawl.  Over the last week, the government cancelled public information sessions for the Bighorn Country proposal because of reports of intimidation and threats by opponents to the proposal. The local MLA, Jason…

Real country folk a welcome change from the urban posers

Teaching Country Dance for Beginners to actual rural folk proved to be an eye-opener

Real country folk a welcome change from the urban posersBack in my not-so-halcyon days of youth and yore, when I practised the challenging social craft of ballroom dance instruction, I accepted a contract to teach 'Country Dance for Beginners' at a community centre in the small hamlet of Thorhild, Alberta. I had taught at various community centres in and around Edmonton to urban posers,…

We can’t ignore the roots of some rural crime

Trotting out historical excuses for criminal actions will only leave rural residents to continue to be terrorized by gangsters

We can’t ignore the roots of some rural crimeRural crime near troubled reserves on the Prairies must be acknowledged if there’s any hope of remedying the situation. Doug Cuthand, an Indigenous Saskatchewan columnist, believes the phrase ‘rural crime‘ is code for crimes committed by Indigenous thugs. But in Saskatchewan, for example, an Indigenous man is 33 times as likely to be convicted of…

Realized net income for Canadian farmers declines

Livestock revenues were up 5.1% in 2017, following a 6.7% drop the previous year

Realized net income for Canadian farmers declinesRealized net income for Canadian farmers  fell 3.6 per cent in 2017 to $7.0 billion, following three consecutive annual increases, according to a report released on Tuesday by Statistics Canada. The federal agency explained that realized net income is the difference between a farmer's cash receipts and operating expenses, minus depreciation, plus income in kind.…

Canadian farming families smaller but more affluent

Statistics Canada said the farm population is gravitating towards crop types that produce higher household incomes, like oilseeds

Canadian farming families smaller but more affluentA new study by Statistics Canada says the face of the country’s farming population has changed. The 2016 Census of Agriculture found there were 187,492 agricultural businesses in Canada and an additional 6,000 hobby farms. The federal agency said on Tuesday that “not only are farm families smaller than they once were, but they are…

A century later, UFA still providing farmers with supplies and leverage

CEO Carol Kitchen talks about how UFA is part of the fabric of rural Alberta, helping agriculture feed people around the world

A century later, UFA still providing farmers with supplies and leverageCarol Kitchen is president and CEO of UFA. Calgary’s Business: What’s the United Farmers of Alberta and what does it do? Kitchen: United Farmers of Alberta (UFA) is a member-owned co-operative. We’re a progressive and diversified business that provides the products, services and solutions our owners and customers in rural communities need to successfully run…