Jul 13, 2011 by Lee Hart

Agricultural research never takes a holiday

I don’t know if this is happening to anyone else, but as I
seem to be traveling more now with a 60ish-age crowd, even on holidays, the
conversation inevitability steers around to either grandchildren or pension plans.

And since I have neither on the go in my life at the moment
it is sometimes a struggle to stay with the conversation. I can’t wait until
the pendulum swings to two of my favorite topics — sports cars (like the new
Chevy Malibu) or hot chicks (like Shelia Fraser, the auditor general)….now we
are talking.

campers small.jpeg

Being on holidays this week in Radium, B.C. — not that
agricultural journalists ever really take a holiday, you are always doing
research on something — I am restocking the old mental reference library. It is
only Wednesday and I have less than one gigabyte of memory space left. Anything
that happens tomorrow could just be lost forever (that happened a week ago
Tuesday, I lost a whole day, so I know the risk is real).

I thought I should jot down a few observations in case the
old “hard drive” is wiped clean. We are camping with three other couples, all
long-time friends who have known each other for more than 30 years. We have
worked together, camped together and raised a total of eight children together,
and now with a collective age of about 485 years we get together at least once
a year to share our experience and insights into an ever-increasing range of
topics. The group includes the Vandenbergs of Cranbrook, the Gibbards of
Kimberley and the Cookes of Lethbridge.

Here are a few key points from this trip:

  • Grandchildren
    Ella, Aden and Abby are just amazing, and pretty well every move they make
    is either incredible or hilarious. (I have to take the grandparents’ word
    on that). Apparently the really special feature of grandchildren is you
    can enjoy them when they are cute and good, and hand them back if they get
    fussy or troublesome. I like that.
  • Apparently
    as you approach 60 a pension plan is a good thing. (I should start
    thinking about that). Government pensions do not treat old people well or
    fairly. Get your teeth fixed and eyes checked before you retire because it
    gets too expensive afterwards.
  • While
    crops are growing and cattle are grazing, Alberta and Saskatchewan farmers
    come to Radium (or at least the Columbia Valley). There appears to be
    several sitting in the shade next to their RVs reading up on tax shelters.
  • The
    Edgewater Hilltop Par 3 Golf Course is beautiful, but only for experienced
    golfers, or at least those still agile enough to climb over the rail fence
    on the fourth and fifth holes to find balls that may have gone out of
    bounds into the hay field. I saw some poor buggers doing that. The steep
    hill between the eighth and ninth holes is a real bear, but unavoidable,
    unless you are lucky enough to die on the eighth hole.girls golf .jpeg
  • Never
    mind golf at the Edgewater Hilltop Par 3 Golf Course just go there for the
    great lunch and excellent homemade pies (six kinds). Try not to go there
    with a bunch of health conscience old people who get full too fast or like
    “to eat in moderation”. It is no fun, and almost (I said ALMOST) makes you
    think twice about having pie.
  • There
    is a great and interesting selection of honey and honey products at the
    Jubilee Mountain Apiary/Beeland store in the Spillimacheen Trading Post
    about 25 kms north of Radium on Highway 95. Morley Winnick says it has
    been a bad year for honey bees, mites are a consistent problem, and with
    the late spring the bees nearly starved to death because mountain alpine
    flowers and valley alfalfa fields were slow to bloom. The nectar is now
    flowing, and there will be honey this year.
  • Next
    door to the honey store, four entrepreneurial women – Donna Ford, Nola
    Art, Shirley Griese and Sharon Jamieson have opened the Spilli Bean coffee
    shop and restaurant in the old forest service ranger station. Great place
    for coffee, lunches and special dinners during the week. And a great view
    overlooking the Columbia River. I canoed that stretch about 40 years ago
    as part of a month-long trek from the source of the Columbia into
    Washington State.
  • And
    the Windermere Valley Golf Course, which used to be part of a ranch owned
    by the Zehnders is a great place to spend the afternoon too. Not that food
    is more important than golf, but they also have a nice restaurant at the
    club house.
  • And
    further south on Highway 95, another long time rancher, Bud Coy, near
    Canal Flats has an excellent little par 3 golf course on one of the former
    pastures. You walk through the corrals between the first and second hole.
    I wish he had hacked down a few more trees in a couple places, my aim
    ain’t that good. But Thursday is a golf and ribs night, so we may be all
    over that.guys golf .jpeg
  • Another
    problem camping with old, retired people they are not socially connected
    and either do not own or do not carry cell phones. They just don’t get
    modern, contemporary, happening people who like to sit around the campfire
    with iphones and Blackberries. It’s like they don’t care what the world is
    doing.

 A third topic
old retired people like to talk about, which unfortunately I am able to relate
to more and more is “things that hurt when you move” or “parts that no longer
work as well, or at all”. Speaking of which, I best get my parts moving for the
day as best I can. Since we ate the donuts around the campfire last night, I
will have to find some other form of morning sustenance.

Lee
Hart is a field editor for Grainews in Calgary, Contact him at 403-592-1964 or
by email at
[email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lee Hart

Lee Hart


Lee Hart is a long-time farm writer, and honorary member of the Alberta Institute of Agrologists, with many observations on the agriculture industry, who never hesitates to admit he is wrong (should that ever happen.)


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