Prince Edward County’s Newspaper of Record
June 14, 2024
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From the Archives
September 26, 2023

“Harry Says,” 3 October, 1973

Living and working on the land, you develop a bunch of theories on any amount of things. US farmers, usually alone for a big part of the day, have a lot of time to think things out.

Cultivating this farm, mostly clay gravel, you run across a few sand loam knolls. I’d imagine out of these 100 acres there would only be about 4 of these patches of deep, easy working soil, and I asked myself, why would they differ from the rest of the terrain which is clay and limestone then shale then limestone bed rock? I’ve read of the ice age, but then I discount this as the reason for these loam knolls. I’ve come up with my own theory.

In the measurement of our world’s existence, I figured time don’t mean a thing period a billion years back, this part of the world could have been the North Pole or the Equator or at the bottom of a sea. But why the knolls?

When I’m in a city, I look at the high rise apartments dash the huge buildings made of concrete, glass, and steel, and I tell myself, “The mills of God grind slowly but they grind exceedin’ small,” and I wonder, “how long through time, weathering, the chemical action of millions of years of processing would it take to crumble this city to dust?—the steel to revert to iron oxide in the soil, the glass to the silica particles in sand, the concrete crumbled back to alluvial ea4rth, the aluminum to the trace elements in all soils? A city such as Toronto would crumble down to maybe a four-foot depth of soil, all put there by man and his modern devices the result of a couple hundred years of human ants transporting building material, and erecting this metropolis and then some disaster appearing either swiftly or evolving, and the city, after ages and ages, crumbling back to its origin. And so my theory is that these sand loam knolls were not deposited by the ice age but are degenerated villages or towns reverted back to their original aggregate.

Damn it—my tractor is burpin’ and buckin’ while I’m plowing. Must be a slug in the gas. Guess I’ll stop and drain the sediment bowl and I’ve clean forgot w’ot the hell I was thinking about a minute ago.

Like I say, farmers have a lot of time to think about a whole slew of things that city folks never give a thought to, so I thought I’d put down some of the things that run through my mind and the aforementioned was one of ’em.

***

This afternoon I’m pondering about the approaching world shortage of energy fuel while grunting back and forth across the field. It’s a safe bet that the next few decades, at the pace we’re using up the world’s energy resource is, that gas will have to be strictly rationed. In the last war, especially in Europe, fuel was used for essential purposes only. This was in a time of crisis, and gas and oil were vital weapons otherwise we would be slaves under an enemy yolk. The car and allied industries I figure is largely responsible for the standard of living of a country. Countries that don’t produce cars, are low on the totem pole. The smaller the car industry, the lower the standard of livin’. For instance, America, Russia, Japan, China. However this don’t always cut ice. There’s Switzerland. Do they make cars?

The turnover annually of General Motors in the U.S.A. is about equal to the whole budget of this dominion of Can’yder. Their take from cars in the States is equal to what it takes to run our whole country.

Our cities have been remodeled not for people but for the movement and access of the automobile. The allied car industries includes railways colour shipping cover most of the world’s oil industry, iron and steel. Without the automobile, countries such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait would revert back to their original tribal nomadizm. Our own economy would be largely wheat growing and wood products with most of us farmers and trappers. There is no solution to the automobile problem period we could revert back to horsepower, but with the increased population growth, we can’t even spare the hay and oats to feed the horse population needed to power the economy. We are stuck with the automobile until we have polluted our civilization back to the dark ages again.

And God, in his infinite wisdom, looks down in amusement at the antics of his children worshipping at the graven image — the automobile.

***

Reckon I’ll stop plowin’ for dinner and noon chores.

Gruntin’ across the field, I’m thinking about an item I just read in today’s Gazette, “Education Board to study Venereal Disease Program.” It’s an instructional materials kit on the subject of venereal disease and will be demonstrated to trustees of the County Board.

I’m thinking to myself this is a whale of an idea. With the new morality, who in their right minds would that their 13 or 14 or 15-year old son or daughter out in this enlightened world without one of these here kits?

When I went to school in the Roarin’ Twenties, nobody ever thought of offering nobody no kit for venereal disease. There warn’t even know anti-biotics then. All there was was permanganate of potash and mercury for treatment of this social disease. Later, in the service, some guys were so full of mercury from the surgeon’s weekly needle that you could see it rise and fall in their bodies as the temperature went up and down.

I read where the separate school board of Hastings and Prince Edward had turned thumbs down on this kit. The good fathers and nuns with their vast experience of youth’s morals just don’t go along with such shinanagins.

I’m thinking, maybe it’s the best thing that could happen for the education system and kids — but what about you and me? Maybe us adults need a kit too.

***

Here’s something that city people don’t run up against too often. A bleeding great rat has moved in from out the corn pile in the drive house, so I’m settin’ here figurin’ on strategy to get that here rat. Last Saturday, me batching it, I had a surprise party. I’ll give you two guesses who dreamed up the surprise, but it was bring and eat and drink. One guest left behind garlic-tasting snacks — nuts and bolts, little pretzels and biscuits. This “Charlie Rodent” is partial to the nuts and bolts. Warfarin is corn spiked with warfarin. I’ve baited with this, but Charlie prefers the nuts and bolts. He’s partial to my cash way carpets as well, after all he left the corn pile for a change of diet. In four days, he’s ’ett half a cereal bowl of nuts and bolts. Since these snacks are garlic-flavored, Charlie’s breath must raise holy smoke in his apartment down under my Cashway substandard broadloom, but he keeps coming back for his garlic-flavored treats. I’ve come in, switched on the light and ketched him, but he nips smartly back in his hole. Maybe his breath will be his undoing. I’ve got some garlic flavored cheese and I’ve baited a trap for Charlie.

***

I’m still going back and forth across the field. You all read about Willie Fraser’s bees swarmin’ over Phill’s house. One thing nobody mentions is they finally fly away. Nobody remembers bees staying on the side of a house forever, but 5 or 6 hours is the most they stay after swarming. Right at this time occurs the nuptial flight of the young bees, males and queens. The males will perish and the queens sleep all winter. The queens will be around next year but only next year’s crop of males will be around which ain’t my idea of sexual equality. If a bee settles on your nose, leave him alone until he stings you, because the theory is if you leave him alone he’ll leave you alone too.

Bees make a beeline for the hive or hollow tree. That’s why they say, “he made a beeline for the licker store when his welfare cheques arrived.” Apart from apple blossoms and alfalfa blooms, Willie Fraser can keep his bees.

–’Arry.

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