Monday, November 28, 2011

Gratitude Monday - Bounty

The Bag Lady is taking a page from her cousin Leah's blog today and posting about gratitude.

She is grateful for the fact that she lives a rural life-style and has access to a bounty of all manner of things, but especially home-grown food. Recently, a neighbour pointed out that a fellow down the road from him had raised some pigs that were now ready for sale for slaughter. The Rancher and the Bag Lady were more than happy at the opportunity to buy pork on the hoof.

The neighbour and the Rancher hooked onto the stock trailer and picked up the pigs, then took them to an abattoir. The Bag Lady defrosted and re-arranged her deep freezers in preparation.

Soon there will be a bounty of pork and ham and bacon in the freezers, and for this the Bag Lady is grateful.

(How do you feel about meeting your meat, so to speak?)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Enter at Own Risk

Winter arrived on the ranch this week. The Bag Lady did not take pictures of the snow. She has taken many pictures in the past, and snow pretty much always looks the same, doesn't it? Cold. White.

She has been pondering and ruminating about an article she read in a "farm" paper recently. Those of you who reside in cities and towns probably don't realize that rural residents receive several free publications aimed specifically at farmers and ranchers. The Bag Lady uses them to start the woodstove doesn't usually read them, but the Rancher does, and he was outraged enough that he had to share this particular article with the Bag Lady.

There is a "movement" sweeping the nation (and probably the continent, too) that has the Bag Lady slightly worried. It takes several forms, and encompasses all of us in ways that are yet to be revealed. She refers to the burgeoning preoccupation with the multi million dollar industry of safety.

Yes, our society has become obsessed with safety. The Bag Lady is uncertain where this obsession comes from - did it start with the infamous McDonald's coffee incident? She has heard that there is a company that once manufactured perfectly good ladders, but stopped because there was not enough room to print all the safety labels that would have been required.

From bubble-wrapping our kids (cutting all the limbs within 8 feet of the ground off trees in daycare centres.... no hard balls such as soccer or basketballs on the playground in schools...) to forcing workers to take a multitude of courses in order to have the required tickets to go to work, we seem bent on completely eradicating risk from our lives. Whatever happened to natural selection? If you're not smart enough to recognize a potential life-threatening situation, should you really be allowed to procreate?

How does this affect the Bag Lady, you ask? Well, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture has implemented a safety program. As far as the Bag Lady understands it, currently it is voluntary, but she is sure the government in it's infinite wisdom will soon force compliance. Here are a few of the high points from the article that the Rancher pointed out to her:

Establish clear visitation rules and post the rules in writing in a visible location.
--- This one cracks the Bag Lady up. She is already working on a sign, really.

Show visitors where you keep the fire extinguishers, first aid kit, eye wash station, and other emergency supplies.
---Eye-wash station? Really?? (Do any of you 'city folk' have an eye-wash station? You'd better start planning one, 'cause the Bag Lady doesn't want you to be caught flat-footed when the Safety Police come to your door.)

Clearly establish safe on-farm attire such as shoes instead of sandals, long pants, no loose strings, sleeves, etc. Provide water, insect repellent and sunscreen.
--- If you come to visit the Bag Lady, don't wear sandals. She would hate for you to drop a beer bottle on your toe.

Inform guests of the location of all restrooms and hand-washing stations on the farm.
--- plenty of trees around the Bag Lady's yard, and, depending on how dry the season is, there are a couple of dugouts, a hydrant by the barn, garden hose by the house. You may not want to wash your hands in the stock waterer. There's usually a lot of cow slobber in there. An alternative, of course, is to not pee on your hands. Or..... you can go to the house. It's pretty modern, and has toilets and running water that anyone with common sense could find.

Oh, wait.... there is no common sense anymore. As evidenced by this article, visitors to a working farm or ranch would have no freakin' idea where to find a bathroom.

Yes, the Bag Lady is poking a bit of fun at the Safety Industry, but she is also deeply concerned about its gathering momentum. What ever happened to personal responsibility? She knows in her heart that most adults would be aware of potential hazards on a farm or ranch..... wouldn't they? Stay away from those big machines with all the moving parts (and huge freakin' wheels!), don't try to pet that enormous bull snorting in the pen, and keep your fingers and toes out of places they don't belong. How simple is that?

The Bag Lady worries that she doesn't have enough ink in her printer to produce all the signs she would have to post, so, after much discussion, she and the Rancher have come up with what they think is the perfect solution, and plan to post this at the end of their driveway, right above the box containing the waiver forms.....


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Getting Ready

Winter is coming. The Rancher and the Bag Lady have been getting ready. The Rancher came home with this.....(which is half of the stock trailer, so that pile is about 10 feet long.)

With him splitting and the Bag Lady stacking, they spent a busy afternoon and turned it into this......

(which is two rows deep, although it's a little difficult to tell from the picture)
That pile is now a little bigger, because they weren't quite finished when the Bag Lady took the photo, so she spent a morning splitting and piling the remainder by herself because the Rancher was busy elsewhere.

This will definitely help keep them warm for at least part of the winter!