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LISA B. POT - DECEMBER 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 09 December 2014 10:29
In elementary school, even high school, we had to put up our hands and politely ask for permission to get a drink or use the washroom. It struck me as absurd that someone had to authorize my body’s needs...that I needed permission.
For those of us who are highly independent, requiring permission for activities we know to be necessary or true feels like an impingement on our freedom, even though we understand the need for boundaries and control.
However,  I am discovering a positive spin on permissions of which two can be found in this magazine.
Snowmobilers have to buy a trail permit to snowmobile on Ontario trails. This is a perfect example of the benefit of permissions for both the snowmobiler and landowner.  Living with the rail trail on our farm, we get a lot of snowmobilers passing through the farm. Having purchased a permit for the right to do so, they are respectful and appreciative of the access their trail permit provides. Their ‘permission permit’ protects them and us.
Permissions also come in more subtle forms that free us from personal or cultural expectations which fill our lives with shoulds.
While interviewing snowmobilers, I realized they use their sledding time to relax; a powerful permission to escape work and worries.
Another permission came from Dorothy Henderson in the cookbook story. I had confessed to her that cooking isn’t my favourite activity. My mother and sister are fabulous cooks but I struggle being confined to a kitchen. I do cook because I have six children and I want them to eat healthy, balanced meals. But creating an entire meal is sometimes a burden.
Dorothy advises struggling cooks to prepare just one dish and supplement the rest of the meal with prepared foods from the grocery store. What a freeing permission! Just make what you can and as you gain skill and confidence, preparing the family dinner will become easier.
The same happened when I started running. Being a first-born with competitive and perfectionist tendencies, I believed that I should be able to immediately run 10 kilometres without undue effort. It was not so. So I took a dozen or so books out of the library and came across the Jeff Galloway Run-Walk-Run method which advocates stretches of walking during a run. The strategic walk breaks give runners control over their fatigue and can actually improve times on race day.
It is an authentic approach to running that enabled me to run 10 km races and longer without pain and exhaustion.
These ‘permissions’ allow our conscious brain to overcome subconscious expectations of our own behaviour. Permissions can empower us to make choices that are right and true for us, restoring joy in our approaches and improving our attitude and motivation.
Winter and Christmas offer their own sets of permissions. Snow brings work but once the laneway is blown and chores are done, a land resting under a white blanket gives farmers the chance to take a break.
Christmas adds to it. Statutory holidays give us direct permission to spend time with family and friends. Christmas itself allows Christians to openly and loudly celebrate their faith in a culture that would rather we be quiet and innocous followers of Christ.
Permissions. May you be blessed with many this month! ◊
PERMISSIONS CAN BE EMPOWERING
By Lisa B. Pot
In elementary school, even high school, we had to put up our hands and politely ask for permission to get a drink or use the washroom. It struck me as absurd that someone had to authorize my body’s needs...that I needed permission.
For those of us who are highly independent, requiring permission for activities we know to be necessary or true feels like an impingement on our freedom, even though we understand the need for boundaries and control.
However,  I am discovering a positive spin on permissions of which two can be found in this magazine.
Read more...
 
KATE PROCTER - DECEMBER 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 09 December 2014 10:23
As we struggle through another wet fall, trying to get our crops out of the field and into the bin, farmers are on the front lines when it comes to dealing with climate change.
“We only need to look back at the last two years to see how climate change is affecting our area. 2012 was the driest in 30 years and the heat also put stress on our river systems, forests, soils, and on agriculture. 2013 was the wettest in 40 years and this resulted in increased flooding and soil erosion. Our services need to focus on helping people deal with the challenges of extreme weather,” says Deb Shewfelt, Maitland Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) Chair.
It is easy to get caught up in the who-did-what-to-whom debate over climate change, but talk to anyone in the insurance business and they will tell you they’ve seen this coming for a long time. And they should know – insurance companies are on the hook for paying for increasing water damage, which has now replaced fire damage as the number one cost of insurance claims.
I have been privileged to join the Maitland Conservation Foundation (MCF) this year. This has been a great experience for several reasons. It has given me the opportunity to learn a lot more about how the MVCA operates and a better idea of what it does. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to join with such dedicated and hard-working people, some volunteer, some staff–but all of whom are passionate about our Maitland River watershed.
The work that they do is important to all of us – whether we are farmers, land owners, or simply live within the watershed.
The MVCA has been operating since 1951, employs 24 people, and serves an 809,000-acre watershed. The Maitland Valley Conservation Authority Board provides overall direction and is made up of councillors from municipalities within the watershed. The Maitland Conservation Foundation is a fund-raising body that has existed since 1975 to help raise the money needed to carry out the projects.
There have been some changes in direction recently at the MVCA. Most notably, the organization is streamlining operations and refocusing efforts on doing fewer things well. One of the key priorities is promoting the stewardship of soil, water and forest resources. MVCA also owns and manages over 4,000 acres of wooded swamp, floodplain and river valley lands across the watershed that are used by thousands of people each year for hiking, cross country skiing, birdwatching and outdoor education.
MVCA has asked the MCF to help raise funds for three projects.
The MCF has agreed to try and raise $36,000 over the next three years to help restore the headwaters of the Middle Maitland River upstream of Listowel. The aim of the project is to improve streamflow and water quality through the naturalization of the river valley and flood plain along the river all the way up to, and including, the headwaters of the Middle Maitland in cooperation with landowners. This project will also assist landowners to install rural storm water management systems on their property to reduce the potential for flooding and erosion on their cropland.
The MVCA is working with three landowners who are interested in implementing projects to restore the health of the river and control runoff in 2015.
Another project is focused on providing pollinator habitat and reducing maintenance costs at the George Taylor Conservation Area near Walton. This involves converting the current turf grass to a wildflower meadow. The estimated cost of this project is $8,000.
The Wawanosh Conservation Area near Belgrave provides the focus for two projects. This CA, with its beautiful trails and interpretive centre, provides great opportunities for residents to come out and learn about our natural environment. Many school trips are hosted at Wawanosh and there are lots of fun activities throughout the year. I have many happy memories of Owl Prowls, Fall Colour Tours, and snowshoeing through the park.  Work needs to be done to replace the boardwalks throughout the CA. The estimated cost for this project is $3,000/year for  three years.
A wildflower meadow development is also planned.
The Foundation’s 2013 activities included supporting the MVCA’s Watershed Resiliency Project, planting 25 large stock trees in the Memorial Grove on Earth Day, funding education programs at the Wawanosh Nature Centre for 4-H Conservation Club members, and participating at the Fall Colour Tour at the Wawanosh Nature Centre.
The Foundation was also able to raise $20,000 at the annual Dinner and Auction.
While thinking about climate change can be daunting and scary, there are things all of us can do on the local level. You can get involved by donating or by becoming a member.  Membership only costs $10 per year. Don’t forget the Dinner and Auction, which is held annually in April.
You can get more information by checking out the website at http://www.mvca.on.ca/mcf.php, calling 519-335-3557 or emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
MAITLAND CONSERVATION FOUNDATION IDEAL PLACE TO VOLUNTEER TO PROTECT WATERSHED
By Kate Procter
As we struggle through another wet fall, trying to get our crops out of the field and into the bin, farmers are on the front lines when it comes to dealing with climate change.
“We only need to look back at the last two years to see how climate change is affecting our area. 2012 was the driest in 30 years and the heat also put stress on our river systems, forests, soils, and on agriculture. 2013 was the wettest in 40 years and this resulted in increased flooding and soil erosion. Our services need to focus on helping people deal with the challenges of extreme weather,” says Deb Shewfelt, Maitland Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) Chair.
Read more...
 
MABEL'S GRILL - DECEMBER 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 05 December 2014 11:57
“What’s this?” asked George McKenzie when Dave Winston handed him an envelope at the morning coffee session at Mabel’s the other day.
“It’s the Christmas card for you and Martha,” said Dave as he distributed cards to Cliff Murray and Mabel as well.
“Saving the 85 cents are you?” said Molly Whiteside as she made the rounds with the coffee pot. “I wonder how many fewer Christmas cards will be sent this year with the price of postage so high.”
“Well saving the money is great all right, particularly with the price of corn down and the cost of drying all that wet corn making me wish I owned shares in a propane company, but I was mostly worried about you getting the card before Christmas if I put it in the mail.”
“We only live one concession apart,” snorted George. “Even Canada Post can’t take that long.”
“I don’t know,” said Dave, shaking his head. “The wife was talking to the post master here in town and he told her that with the new rules from Canada Post headquarters, they’re not supposed to sort local mail anymore. It all goes on the mail truck to London. And since they’re not sorting mail in London anymore, it goes on to Mississauga where it gets sorted and sent back to London and then back to our post office.”
“You’re kidding!” hooted George. “You mean instead of them walking across the post office and putting the mail in the box for a different rural route, and me getting your letter the next day, they ship my letter about 300 miles to go three miles.”
“Apparently that’s what the plan is,” said Dave.
“And you watch, the next time the price of fuel goes up Canada Post will say it has to put up the price of stamps to cover trucking costs,” sighed Cliff.
“What the heck are those guys smoking at Canada Post headquarters?” wondered George.
“So what are the staff at the local post office supposed to do with the rest of their day once they’ve got our mail put in the right box every morning?” asked Molly.
“Probably fill in paperwork for headquarters,” said Cliff.
“Or listen to people complaining about high prices and poor postal service,” said George.
“Maybe sell coins and stamps to collectors,” said Mabel from over at the counter. “Seems like the post office would rather sell souvenirs than deliver mail.”
“Well it seems like that’s all they’ll soon have left to do,” said George. “I can’t think of any plan more designed to put your company out of business than to hike the cost 30-40 per cent and then take longer to deliver the letter.”
“Already my kids hardly know what a post office is unless they have to go there to pick up a package with something they ordered from E-Buy,” said Dave.
“That’s E-Bay,” corrected Molly.
“It’s no-buy to me,” said Dave.
“Given the mindset at Canada Post, I’m kind of surprised somebody hasn’t decided to fly all the mail to India for sorting,” said Cliff.
“Well they wouldn’t be the first ones,” said Mabel. “The salesperson from the local newspaper was in here the other day to get an ad and when I asked her to let me see what it was going to look like she said she’d have to wait until it went to India to be put together and then was shipped back.”
“And we wonder why young people can’t get jobs!” fumed Molly.
“What gets me is that the idiots who make these crazy decisions at Canada Post or the other big companies are paid fortunes, as if they were geniuses,” said George.
“Yeah,” said Dave, “and  I’ll bet they get paid by direct deposit. Maybe we’d have better postal service if they had to wait for the cheque by mail.”◊
THE GUYS AT MABEL'S GRILL DISCUSS HOW NOT TO RUN A POST OFFICE
The world’s problems are solved daily ’round the table at Mabel’s Grill.
“What’s this?” asked George McKenzie when Dave Winston handed him an envelope at the morning coffee session at Mabel’s the other day.
“It’s the Christmas card for you and Martha,” said Dave as he distributed cards to Cliff Murray and Mabel as well.
“Saving the 85 cents are you?” said Molly Whiteside as she made the rounds with the coffee pot. “I wonder how many fewer Christmas cards will be sent this year with the price of postage so high.”
Read more...
 
KEITH ROULSTON - DECEMBER 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 05 December 2014 11:51
Back in the 1980s, my son’s favourite cartoon character was Inspector Gadget. The cartoon, in turn, was inspired by Get Smart, in which a spy had all the gadgets he needed to save the world, but not the brain cells to go with them. As we approach a Christmas in which elect-ronic gadgets are bound to be favourite gifts, I hope that the recipients have the intelligence to use their gadgets wisely.
We’re living in an age where things are changing so fast, techno-logically, that people sometimes tend to think that anything more than a few years old is irrelevant. Before we get caught up in all things new, we need to remember  these are simply tools and if they dominate our lives to the point of losing track of the things that really matter, like friends, family and community, then they harm our society, not help it.
I grew up in a similar period of incredible change in the 1950s (yes I’m a despicable Boomer). Coming out of the poverty of the Great Depression and the need to focus all resources on winning World War II, suddenly the most inventive minds could be turned to improving the lives of consumers. Many of those inventions truly improved our lives. Antibiotics became widely available, keeping people alive who might have died a decade earlier. Women were freed from dawn-to-dusk drudgery with labour-saving cooking and laundry appliances.
But the invention that most closely resembles the revolution of our current digital age was television. TV came late to our home as my parents struggled to afford even the basics of life, and it would have come even later if not for a Christmas gift from my sister who was enjoying her first independent income. Once the TV arrived, however, it seemed it was seldom turned off from noon to midnight – even though we could get only one channel. My mother scheduled chores that she could do in front of the TV. An avid reader, she even read books and magazines with the TV playing in the background.
But the changes that I remember most were not in our own home but in our community. People, farm people especially, who spent their whole day working alone in kitchen, barn or field, craved companionship. Some of this came because a demand for muscle power meant neighbours got together to accomplish things – from threshing to quilting – but people also got together for Farm Radio Forum and other neighbourhood gatherings.
Improved technology like combines eliminated the need to share labour. TV made people stay home to be entertained instead of congregating to entertain each other.
Today’s digital age provides many opportunities to communicate without seeing people face to face. This can be good when it enables people whose voices might not ordinarily be heard to speak out – allowing farmers to tell their stories to urbanites, for instance.
But social media is also creating a sense of community divorced from our geographic surroundings. Some families are isolated from each other,  each member on his/her smart-phone or tablet communicating with distant friends but not with family members in the same home. Some commun-ities are finding it hard to get people to join service clubs which are so essential to make communities work.
A couple of decades ago in his iconic book Small is Beautiful, British economist E. F. Schumacher argued for the use of appropriate technology – using the right tool for the right job. Smart-phones, tablets and social media can have many appropriate uses but if people get so swept up in texting that they forget to talk, in Facebook instead of face- time, then these tools can have socially destructive unintended consequences.◊
LET’S USE MODERN GADGETS CONSTRUCTIVELY
By Keith Roulston
Back in the 1980s, my son’s favourite cartoon character was Inspector Gadget. The cartoon, in turn, was inspired by Get Smart, in which a spy had all the gadgets he needed to save the world, but not the brain cells to go with them. As we approach a Christmas in which electronic gadgets are bound to be favourite gifts, I hope that the recipients have the intelligence to use their gadgets wisely.
Read more...
 
LISA B. POT PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 05 December 2014 11:45
Judging by the pictures, Tom Vogel was clearly a photographer.
Judging by his presentation, he was clearly a speaker.
Judging by his Phoneography workshop at the Bayfield Fall Foto Fest, he was a teacher.
His confession? He wasn’t any of the above.
“Even though I earn a living taking pictures, I am not a photographer. Even though I teach at Doon College, I am not a teacher,” said the highly charismatic Kitchener resident. “Those are my careers. What I am is a storyteller. Storytelling is my vocation.”
As Tom continued it became clear by the captivated audience and his absolute delight while presenting that he was, indeed, a storyteller. Photography and teaching happened to be his two favourite mediums for sharing stories.
Vocation. I wrote the word down three times. Underlined it. Pondered it. I mulled that word over and even looked up the definition. It means “a calling.”
A vocation is something deeper than what we do for a living. It taps into our DNA; who we are and what we were created to be and do.
If we could be as definitive as Vogel and live our calling, it follows that we would feel a number of positive emotions: purposeful, confident, certain and joyful.
Unsurprisingly, the concept   became a filter through which I viewed the people I met and interviewed for this issue.
One of them was Jarvis-area hog farmer, Wayne Zandstra, who couldn’t have been more reluctant to be a member of a panel on PED (Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea). He admitted he’s the kind of guy who comes in late, sits in the back corner, doesn’t comment and leaves right away. Yet there he was, front and centre, telling his story. He did fine although it was obvious storytelling isn’t his vocation! Working, managing and raising a family on his farm is. PED hit him hard not only financially but emotionally, largely because his kids could not spend time in the barn with him until the viral epidemic was over.
Another farmer I interviewed for this issue was Josh Bruton, a young man taking over the family sheep farm. There was a sense that he, too, has found a vocation within his profession. He seemed deeply satisfied with his approach to full-time grazing and using livestock dogs to guard the flock.
Inevitably, I had to consider whether taking on the job of editor for The Rural Voice was a profession or vocation.
I did resonate with Tom’s assertion he was a storyteller. I certainly love to spin a yarn and write articles about the people I meet, the places I’ve been and the things I’ve experienced.
Being a ‘student of life’ and a ‘searcher of truth’ also felt like definitions of what fills my spirit with contentment.
This quote by Sheree Fitch also captures a sense of my vocation:
“It’s my job to bear witness and observe. I want my life to resonate with the life I see.”
I don’t have a pithy statement to encapsulate my vocation but I believe this new profession opens opportunities to explore and experience all of the above.
I’m looking forward to meeting you, connecting with you and being one of the voices of those who live and celebrate rural life! ◊
PROFESSION OR VOCATION: FINDING YOUR CALLING
By Lisa B. Pot
Judging by the pictures, Tom Vogel was clearly a photographer.
Judging by his presentation, he was clearly a speaker.
Judging by his Phoneography workshop at the Bayfield Fall Foto Fest, he was a teacher.
His confession? He wasn’t any of the above.
Read more...
 
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