Category Archives: Just for Fun

Supply Management’s Letter to Santa

With all the items in the news about the status of supply management in Canada, I’m sure there are many poultry, egg and dairy participants who are hoping that Santa might have something in his bag of gifts to save their protected agricultural system.  Here’s an example of what one of those letters might look like:

 

Dear Santa,

My name is Carolynne and I want to tell you how much I believe in you.  I also want to tell you that I should definitely be on your ‘Nice’ list this year.  I have defended my friend, Harry and supported him even though it might have been smarter not to defend him, resulting in an improved egg producer’s position by not defending him.  Now there might be others who would put me on the ‘Naughty’ list this year.  Please don’t listen to them.  They’re the same folks that are telling the judges that I have been playing a little too much with two of my other friends, Bill and Joe.

I have a couple of questions for you too.  Can you spare some of the magic flying powder that you use on the reindeer?  I sure could use some so that I can fly away from the pending lawsuit that hovers over the EFO.  In the meantime, maybe I’ll simply announce that I won’t stand for election to next year’s Board of Directors.

Second, what do you do with the reject toys that the elves make?  I’m looking for a spot to get rid of a bunch of cracked eggs.  I’ve heard that my friend Bill gets rid of his cracked eggs by mixing them in with the Grade A eggs but some people seem to frown on that practice.  If you can’t suggest a better location, I’ll check with my friends at Farm Products Marketing Commission.  It may take them a year or two to answer my request, but I won’t give up.  I’m sure they won’t ignore me like they have other folks that have asked for their help and direction.

I’ll be sure to leave some eggnog out for you on Christmas Eve.  On second thought, I better come up with an alternative as the milk and eggs in eggnog are extremely expensive here in Canada, thanks to supply management.  Maybe next year, the prices for these will be less and I’ll feel that I’m better able to share them in your Christmas Eve snack.  Thanks for all your help Santa.

One of the faithful believers,

Carolynne

 

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Filed under Agriculture, Blogroll, Business, Just for Fun

Agricultural Matrimonial Bliss

May and June seem to be THE months for weddings – at least according to my social calendar. I have had weddings on several weekends of May and June. During the weddings, I get sentimental about my own marriage (insert a gag reflex here) and try to remember the many fond memories that I have about my own wedding ceremony and early days of the marriage. One of the young couples that tied the knot recently asked me if I had any words of wisdom for them or stories to relate about my early days of marriage that they might learn from. They know that I always have a story. After conveying my story to the excited young couple, they insisted that I agree to include it in my blog – so here goes.

Perfect Peter and I were married on the long weekend in September (23 years ago). Not really the best time of the year for a young farmer to get married – hindsight is 20/20. At that time, Snyderdale Farms was in its early stages of growth and as such there were only 500 laying hens on the farm and they were housed in the old converted grainery room of the nearly 100-year old barn. (For those readers who don’t know what a grainery room is, it is a small windowless room that was used to store grain or feed. The grainery room measured about 6 feet tall, 8 feet wide and 12 feet long.) In order for the laying hens to survive in the grainery room, a circulating fan was mounted in the exterior wall of the barn. There were two rows of cages, two cages high and that held all 500 birds. There was a ‘door’ in the floor that was used to get rid of the chickens’ manure when the pile got too deep and when the smell was no longer tolerable. One indicator of that was when the ammonia smell was so strong that you cried when gathering the eggs – and the crying wasn’t because you were upset about anything other than the smell. And if that was not indicator enough, one could always use the amount of flies in the room as a determination of when it was time to clean out the manure. When the egg gatherer could no longer see out of the lenses of their glasses due to the number of the flies, it was time to clean out the manure. So simply picture a small, low-ceilinged, cramped, smelly, dusty room with limited ventilation and 500 feathered friends making an abundance of noise while producing eggs in the woven trough in front of them and producing poop that dropped to the floor below them until such time that Perfect Peter could deal with it. One final detail of the description of the chicken room – the door. The door on the grainery room was a simple latch and eye closure. Nothing fancy – functional was all that was needed.

Now the barn/farm scene has been set. Here’s the event. Perfect Peter decided that he wanted to socialize with one of our close friends and neighbours (also farmers) and so suggested that we invite them over for supper one Saturday evening. I agreed, made the arrangements and said “Are you sure that this won’t interfere with the combining?” Perfect Peter discounted my question totally and replied, “I might be a little late.” Confident that Perfect Peter was indeed perfect, I believed him and was quite excited to be hosting our first (of oh so many!) dinner in our farmhouse. I labored over the menu, worried about the centerpiece, ironed all the napkins – yes, I used cloth napkins. What was I thinking? The time had come. Our guests drove in the laneway, I lit the candles, I greeted the guests and said that Peter would be in shortly – dinner wasn’t quite ready so waiting a little while wouldn’t hurt anything. Trying to be the perfect hostess, I rambled on and on and on…..for nearly an hour. The perfect hostess qualifications were quickly leaving me and were being replaced with perfectly pissed off newlywed wife waiting for Perfect Peter – who I was beginning to realize might not be so perfect after all! After waiting an hour, we went ahead and ate supper. It’s hard to cover up those ‘pissed off’ feelings even on a full stomach. Another hour went by and still no signs of Perfect Peter. Having consumed all of the wine (thank God there wasn’t a lot!) by now and recognizing that a storm was brewing, my intelligent guests decided that they didn’t want to be anywhere near Snyderdale Farms when Perfect Peter finally showed up. So they bid me good night and the female of the couple whispered good luck in my ear, thanked her lucky stars that she hadn’t married Perfect Peter, and departed.

After nearly four hours had passed since my guests (and they were only MY guests since I was the only one here to entertain them!) had arrived, I see the lights from the combine in the barnyard. Needless to say, I was steaming! I would guess that a steaming mad, redneck American, newlywed wife who ironed cloth napkins for nothing is not a very pretty sight. I thought to myself, “Perfect Peter better get on his suit of armor before coming in the house – because he’s going to need it”. The back door opened and Perfect Peter entered and he was sheepishly smiling – but not for long. Perfect Peter may not have been able to be on time but he knew that he was in a hole so deep that there may have not been enough rope anywhere to get himself out. Apologies were spewing out of Perfect Peter’s mouth – faster than an erupting volcano. And talk about eruption – every ounce of energy that I had (and remember four hours’ worth of practice gives plenty of time for creativity – both in language and content!) came out of me with volume, force, tears and promises of action ending with a new location of Perfect Peter’s bed.

Needless to say – I didn’t sleep so well that night (and quite frankly I don’t care whether Perfect Peter slept at all) and later the next day, I was able to discuss the previous evening’s events at a lower volume level and with more reason. Ultimately I accepted Not-So-Perfect Peter’s apology and his promise to improve his behavior and actions (something that I’m still waiting for) and proceeded to help with the chores.

Now here’s Perfect Peter going all out, trying to be nice and affectionate and me, not much warmer than a cucumber at this point. In my mind I thought that Perfect Peter had to work a little harder if he wanted me to respond positively to his actions. We walked to the barn after he opened the back door and he gently took my hand in his. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? I thought to myself that he’s really making an effort here. As we walked, he chatted about his plans for the week and asked me the same. He told me how important I was to him and how much I meant to him. I thought, “maybe Perfect Peter really isn’t an inconsiderate pig after all.” Perfect Peter was really trying to be sweet. We both went into the chicken room and began to gather the days’ worth of eggs. Peter suggested that he’d go feed the cattle, I could finish the egg-gathering and upon completion, we could go out for dinner. “Awwww – he really is trying to make up for last night”, I thought. I agreed to his suggestion. Peter left the chicken room and I finished the task at hand. Once completed, I headed to the door of the chicken room for my exit. I pulled on the door and couldn’t get the door to open – not even to budge a little. I was locked in the chicken room! The process of yelling and pounding on the door began but to no avail. With the fan running and the tractor and feeder for the cattle both running, my yells and pounds were simply drowned out of Perfect Peter’s hearing. After nearly thirty minutes of yelling and after the cattle were fed, Perfect Peter heard me and realized that out of habit, he simply left the chicken room, latched the hook on the door and went to feed. I’m sure that he thought about leaving me in the chicken room for a little while – to give me some time to cool down – like that was going to happen. That thought quickly left him when he remembered the current location of his bed in the house already. Suddenly, I heard the latch open. Speechless but coughing from the flies that I had swallowed, I left the chicken room, walked by Perfect Peter without so much as a glance and proceeded to walk to house as I shook the millions of flies that were now nesting, out of my hair. Slowly I walked to the house as I heard Peter desperately calling, “I’m sorry – I’m SOOOOOOO sorry!” As I walked, I began to smile as I knew that Perfect Peter couldn’t see my face. Why was I smiling? This was when I realized that he was perfect – perfect for me. And I never let him forget it.

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Filed under Agriculture, Just for Fun, Womens Issues

Love is in the Air – Right Next to the Dead Pig Pile

green-acres-pic.jpgOver the Christmas holidays, I received the usual amount of Christmas letters and cards from my family and friends. I’m sure you’re familiar with them – the generic newsy letter updating the reader about the lives of their friends, their children, and grandchildren. I thoroughly enjoy these cards and letters – especially the ones from my ‘city slicker’ friends. These folks ask me about my rural idyllic life and comment that they envy my “life in the country”. In my earlier married years, these letters used to comment on how “romantic” my life with my drop-dead farmer gorgeous husband must be. I remember those days. Let’s reflect back to those romantic days – back to, say, late May, 1992. Picture me as the proud mother of Joseph, age 3-1/2 and Lauren,18 months. Peter is doing a custom corn planting job at our neighbour’s pig farm, in a rush, trying to get the planting done. He has asked that I bring him a lunch to the field in order that he can see the children. Remember that he’s been planting corn for an entire month – playing ‘beat the clock’ or ‘beat the rain’. Both games are essentially the same to farmers. During this time, Peter has seen the children for about an hour or two per week. The kids look at him like a stranger and I often wondered whether they would ask him for identification to prove that he was their father.

So as the dedicated mother and wife that I was trying to be, I eagerly prepared a picnic lunch, insisting that if the kids and I came to the field, Peter would have to agree to take some time from the tractor to have a picnic lunch with us. He agreed. I felt like I had just walked away from negotiating with Fidel Castro, only without the cigar. Lunch packed, blanket in tow, two kids in car seats, I proceeded down the road to the setting of the corn field of the pig farm to seek a location for the picnic lunch. My thoughts wandered hopeful that Peter would be thrilled to see us. I even pictured the meeting – Peter jumping down out of the tractor cab, rushing over to embrace us with delight. Could this possibly lead Peter to romantic thoughts? I had high hopes. As I drove down the road, my romantic enthusiasm began to dwindle as I realized the state of my physical appearance and recognized how “unromantic” I was. We were in the process of building a new chicken layer barn at the time and with Peter in the field, I was the sleep-deprived “woman in charge”. And since I was in charge, I hadn’t bothered to take the time to shave my legs for at a least a month, hadn’t brushed my hair for a day or two and upon reflection, couldn’t actually remember the last time that I had showered. I was definitely a hot mama, right? Not. My attire left something to be desired as well. My Winnie-the-Pooh T-shirt had a mustard stain on the front, strained peas on the sleeves (thanks to Lauren) and a smelly remnant from the excited chicken that I had interrupted earlier while she was laying an egg. Regardless, I proceeded to the field, eager to see my Perfect Peter and selected the lunch location near the shade of the bush – and the swarms of flies that had been attracted to the nearby dead pig pile that had been out of my sight during the location decision. Requesting a change of venue was out of the question – this had not been a part of the terms of my original agreement that granted me Peter’s presence for 20 minutes out of the tractor cab. We finished the lunch, basically trying to keep Joseph and Lauren from getting eaten by mosquitoes as Peter checked his watch every minute or two. At the end of the twenty minute period, I gathered the remaining lunch items, chased the kids to the car, and shook hands with my husband as he was somewhat hesitant to have any other physical contact. Oh the romance of the country life. This should also help explain why we only have two children. Just kidding! As Eddie Arnold and Zsa Zsa Gabor used to say about their farm on the now-vintage sitcom Green Acres, “Snyderdale Farms is the place to be, farm living is the life for me!”

 

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Can’t We Do Better?

Since I am on break from my online agricultural communications course, I must have too much time on my hand because I have been watching quite a bit of television.  Too much obviously because I have become fascinated with a new (at least I think it’s new?) advertisement for a candle, but not just any candle.  No, it’s the “Mandle Candle”.  The first time I heard this ad, I thought I must be watching a Saturday Night Live segment making fun of a hokey advertisement – but I was not.  I was watching a real, live, current-day television commercial.  I wonder whether the makers of the “Mandle Candle” were hard-up for names for this product.  Did the name simply have to rhyme with ‘candle’?  If so, then the name easily could have been “Dandle Candle”, “Randle Candle”, or even “Handle Candle”.  Did the creators of this product simply think that all products would be successful if the name rhymed?  I mean, let’s look at all the examples where the word combinations work – ‘chick flick’, ‘green bean’, ‘cook book’.  In this day and age of technology, higher education and deeper levels of creativity, can’t we do better than this?  I think so.  Maybe I shouldn’t watch so much television.   One thing I know for sure – I won’t be buying a “Mandle Candle” as a result of this “bad ad”. 

 

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Filed under Business, Just for Fun

Judgment Day for the Ag. Comm. Student

2232-004-12-1099.gifThe time has now come for my web log to be graded as part of my first class in agricultural communications. Final touches will be made, sleep will be lost and my blood pressure will go up. But the same thing happens during December every year anyway so this is nothing new! Seriously, the blogging experience was quite an enjoyable adventure for me and I am thankful to all of my readers. They have been patient, supportive, humbling and an audience that allows me to practice my writing and provide me with immediate feedback. As well, since I am a member of the Baby Boomer generation (please note that I am one of the younger members of this generation!), the technology that the blog experience has forced me to be a part of has certainly taken me out of my comfort zone – which I’m told is good but I’m not sure about that yet. Comfortable or otherwise, it’s been fun. I’m sure there will be more to come.

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Filed under Agriculture, Blogroll, Education, Just for Fun

Starting over again?

young-farmers.jpgThe Snyder School of Higher Learning has re-opened and the retired school marm has come out of retirement. A local rural family relative is homeschooling their three children and I have agreed to help the older two create a blog! The blog will be the equivalent of their ‘blackboard’ (do they still use those?)100-0068_img.jpg and will provide an opportunity to publish their writing. It also gives grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc. an opportunity to see if the kids are really being ‘schooled’. Hopefully this blog will provide fun and education for the students and a peace of mind for the monitoring family members. The kids are trying to accompany their writing with applicable photos and/or artwork. Lots of fun for both teacher and students. I’ve included a photo of my newest students. Please feel free to check out the site: snyderschoolofhigherlearning.blogspot.com

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