What I am hoping for now is a nice cold snap ó the kind that leaves a human weight bearing crust on the snow pack. It is a particular and rare feeling of freedom, to stride about unencumbered in the thickly wooded areas of the farm.
What we have right now is just about the opposite. Even the established paths are treacherous, built as they are upon the shaky foundation of now rotten snow. Each step is taken with trepidation: if too much momentum is carried as the leg plunges down, things can get very awkward indeed.
A winter wonderland last week, now a quagmire of schmooy snow, trees stripped of branches and poop. The more realistically complete picture of winter makes me wish there was a little more information on my pet issues lest we be led to believe that glitter and glory are the whole story. Itís a tenuous segue, but we donít really ďneedĒ more power, you know, and a rock concert for 40,000 is hardly a ďgreenĒ event, and GMOs donít reduce pesticide use after all.
I attended the Pacific Agricultural Show in Abbotsford Thursday and Friday (Jan. 24 and 25). I think for me it was the best one yet. I am trying to put my finger on why that should be. The topical seminars? Was it the neat equipment? The familiar faces? I enjoyed it all.
There were over 60 people attending the potato classes. This is a lot. The talks were about new varieties, wire worm and flee beetle management and control, and seed potato treatment to prevent low emergence and uneven stand.
Of course, the vast majority of attendees were from the conventional side of the industry, so many of the solutions presented involved chemicals. However, the major and most effective chemical used to control wire worm has recently been de-certified because it also controlled birds and small mammals, so the conventionals are on the hunt for alternatives and apparently there are answers in the organic world. If there werenít, our potato crop would be a wormy mess: it is not.
I spent a fair amount of time gazing at the equipment on display and normally I donít let the salespeople do their pitch because I donít really want to waste their time. However, this year I was less inhibited (though my spending budget remained at zero) and I allowed myself to be shown over every bit of machinery I took a fancy too. In particular I was enchanted with the mini-excavators.
Of very great interest to me was the number of farmer faces that were familiar to me from farmers markets. I take it as a sign of their growth that more of us feel at home at a mainstream agricultural exhibition. With more of them present there is also a little more visible diversity in terms of who is running these farms. I recognized teams of sisters, brothers, good friends, fathers and daughters, as well as solo flyers. Refreshing and realistic.
The effect of all this was that I experienced the first (very faint) pangs of desire to be out there working again, which in turn led to the (less faint) panicky feeling that I am not quite ready. Itís all a moot point of course, to which the aforementioned rotten snow pack is testament, but I doubt rationality comes into it.
Anna Helmer is willing to admit that Netflix is just like having a TV.