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.....



Leah J. Utas said...

Dear Dog I miss natural selection.

Good one, BL, and your welcoming sign is the best.

the Bag Lady said...

Thanks, cousin. There was so much more I wanted to say, but decided to keep it short....

Dawn said...

Just couldn't resist adding my cents worth. We have the same situation here in NZ and yes, farms seem to have been singled out as the most dangerous place in the world to be.

In cold truth, we do kill of a number of our farmers each year in quad bike accidents etc so I'm not saying farms aren't dangerous.

But the signage that HAS to be placed at farm entrances nowadays is simply silly.

There's a lot to be said for letting natural selection weed out the dimwits that can't recognize a hazard at 20 paces!

solarity said...

[Ducking and scuttling along the fencerow]: The only regulations I know of are aimed at keeping farmers from killing themselves with tractors (and statistically most tractor deaths in Kentucky are of farmers over 65, who tend to have older tractors as well as older reflexes) or poisoning themselves with pesticides. Protecting the public from farms--or perhaps farmers?--has not yet become the legislative fashion. Although with legislatures you can't be too careful. Danger everywhere.

Mary Anne in Kentucky

Crabby McSlacker said...

That's too funny! And I love your far more pragmatic reason for not wearing sandals. When we get up to visit you (which some year, I swear, we will) we'll be sure to bring combat boots so we can drop beer bottles on each others' feet all night long!

Cheryl Kohan said...

That's one of your best posts, EVER!!
I think your sign is great. When you get it posted, send us a picture.

You need to write a book.

P.S. My captcha word is "codcpi". Somehow or other I think it's significant. Not sure why.

Anonymous said...

"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?" BWAHAHAHAHA ... Yes, EXACTLY!

I do blame McDonalds. Well, actually not them -- although it would be fun to blame them, I blame the woman who sued them.
Of course hot coffee is hot! My mom accidentlly spilled coffee on my brother's arm back in the mid-70's. She felt bad and took him to the ER but she certainly didn't blame the place that sold her the coffee.

I will be very careful if I ever get up to your ranch. I hate it when I drop things on my toes. Of course, if I have enough beer first, maybe I won't feel it? (And I'm not opposed to peeing behind a bush if necessary....)

messymimi said...

Have to get a sign like that here. A package fell out of the freezer the other day and landed at my foot. That was close.

You are right, there is no sense of personal responsibility with some people any more.

Reb said...

Wow, I guess this city slicker better stay in the city...I might forget where your bathroom is or try to pet the bull.

Oh and don't try to feed us your home grown un-inspected food either! It might be good for us and then where would all the commercial growers be?

Charlotte said...

Wait you have the special toilet trees??? Me and my 3 boys will be right over;) Seriously though, so much of this post cracked me up. Talk about nanny legislation!

the Bag Lady said...

Dawn - farms ARE dangerous places. So are cities. I'd rather take my chances on the farm. But the idea of being forced to place signs everywhere offends me.

Mary Anne - you may well have hit on something... protection the public from rampaging farmers may not be such a bad idea!

Crabby - yes, bring your combat boots so we can drink in safety! :)

Thanks, Cheryl! If I could ever string enough coherent sentences together for something longer than a blog post, I might consider a book! :)

Karen - I, too, believe that the coffee lawsuit was the beginning of this. And it has snowballed.

Messymimi - I cannot begin to tell you how much I regret purchasing a stand-up deep freeze.... and I'm pretty sure a sign isn't going to stop the frozen packages from sliding out on occasion!

Reb - don't get me started on the meat!

Charlotte - I hesitated to use the term 'nanny state', but I fear that is what is happening. Government trying to protect us from ourselves.
And you and the boys can come use my pee-trees anytime! :)

Hilary said...

Well ranted, Baggie. There's danger everywhere.. especially for those who can't think for themselves. And those folks aren't going to bother reading any signs.

the Bag Lady said...

Hilary - you're right, of course - some folk don't heed warning signs at all, anyway. ("Out of Bounds" skiers come to mind!) They think the rules don't apply to them.

Miz said...

I need an eyewash station?! :)

Geosomin said...

That's as detailed as what we have to post in the laboratories for level 2 biohazards (and pretty similar actually). Sheesh! I could see wearing eye proaction and ear protection when needed, but other than that, common sense covers off pretty much anything.

I would recommend having an eye wash around tho - my Dad has actually had to use one in the shop, and having a bottle of saline to rinse your eyes out with hurts less than just water form the tap...but then again, I'm clumsy. I'd probably need one :)

If you were a huge farm with lots of hands then maybe some of that would make sense, but why would someone wander around a farm without knowing where to go and what not to do? And why would you have someone untrained around unless you are training them? Protecting the public from farmers is...well...paranoid!

We had to put up "warning signs" at work, so I got absolutely absurd about it to make a point and they let off a bit. I mean, do you really need a sign to tell you "do not put your arm in an auger"? I doubt it...Natural selection still applies :)

JavaChick said...

Eye wash station? Would that be the same thing as faucet & sink? Otherwise no. And now I'm wondering about our fire extinguisher. Surely we must have one. Husband is very conscientious about these things.

I think you're on the right track with your informative sign.

Can I just say; newsprint is really the best kind of paper for fire starting. You know what to do with that article. Carry on. :)

Redbush said...

I couldn't believe the hard ball banning at schools. I mean, like you say, bubble wrapping kids, and people. We're going to post a sign at our fire pit. " Danger! Old tree! Branches could break and Kill You! Or, " Uneven Bricks. May Trip And Fall Into Fire Pit." I'm with you , Bag Lady. Is there nothing upstairs anymore ?

Levi said...

I do not live in the city though I have an eyewash station that doubles as a toilet.

TexWisGirl said...

perfectly said! congrats on your POTW!

Sandi McBride said...

Amen and Amen! And my personal favorite on my blowdryer, Do Not Use In Shower...ummm, okay...COngrats on POWT...I'll be visiting you again...along with my Market Bulletin (a South Carolina Publication for us rural types!

Pauline said...

a well deserved POTW - if the sign and the waivers don't do it, you can always post a NO Visitors sign with the names of government inspectors in the fine print at the bottom ;)

OmaLindasOldeBaggsandStuftShirts said...

Congrats on your POTW. I am so not proud to say the McDonald's stupid woman lives here in Albuquerque. And I do think that she would be one of those folks who but for the "luck of the stupid" would have been selected for extinction along time ago.
There is a basis premise that I am afraid the government has not taken into account...a person must be able to read in order to heed the protection edicts. Yes?

Leah J. Utas said...

Congratulations on a well-earned and well-deserved POTW.

Cheryl Kohan said...

Am back to give you my hearty congrats on the POTW. Totally the right choice.

the Bag Lady said...

Thanks for stopping by, everyone!