Archive by Author

Organic Farming

23 May

Reject the Idea of Organic Wine and Salad Production

Ed, my old neighbor and self-adopted cousin from Saskatchewan talked to me by Skype last week. My cousin is determined to keep in touch by Skype because it is free. He wanted to know how the crops were progressing around Chilliwack. I told him that the best crops that I can see here were the thriving dandelions. It is not just here in BC that they are flourishing, but everywhere from Melville, SK to Chilliwack, BC. I can report from our recent travels across Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia that the dandelions are thriving everywhere this year.

I spent many days travelling in the car, and the abundance of dandelions inspired me to propose an advance in farming for my cousin Ed. I told Ed that he needed to stop growing his regular crops on his farm. No more costly chemicals, pesticides and herbicides, no costly seed, or the expense of fuel for his tractor. He can stop the input and let the dandelions take over his farm. Dandelions are ever-bearing plants from spring to fall. He can use his spare time to develop a machine that will automatically pick the lovely yellow flowers and the narrow, deeply, lobed leaves. Both flowers and leaves will grow back in a few days. The yellow flowers can become fine dandelion wine and the leaves into a fresh salad. Without the application of any costly spray to his farm, the dandelion wine and salads should boast an organic label, and sell for a higher price. I tried to get Ed to visualize himself as a famous winery owner of the first dandelion wine – winery in Saskatchewan. He could lead tours through the dandelions and have wine tasting and salad sampling.     

Complaint Free

23 May

Complaining is Harder when the Annoying Person is No Longer Around.

Ed was my neighbor for seven years; now he is my adopted cousin. My old neighbor has been going through a case of withdrawal, since our exit from next door. Ruby, Ed’s wife, emailed last week saying that Ed has been missing me. He has suffered because I’m no longer a never-ending supply of reasons to keep him busy complaining. Now, he has no new complaints to offer about me to others at coffee.

My old neighbor takes an instant dislike to some people. Seven years ago, when Ed learned that I was a retired pastor, he bluntly told me he did not like preachers. For the next seven years, he found a multitude of reasons to confirm in his mind, why he should continue to dislike me. A couple of times in the seven years, Ed admitted that on a few things I was alright, but that didn’t change the fact that I was a preacher, and he has never liked preachers. Ed told me that I shouldn’t be offended. There are quite a few people that he has never liked and never will like. They are; most politicians but particularly Liberals, bankers, dentists, pencil-pushers, and teetotalers. My old neighbor said that everyone has their list of unlikable people, about whom they like to complain.

Irish Whiskey

23 May

Some Good Gifts Cannot Be Readily Enjoyed

Ed was my next door neighbor for seven years. Now, he is our self-promoted cousin, Ed, from Saskatchewan, who phoned me yesterday. He wanted to hear how far we had been able to travel each day with our two cats, since leaving on our move to British Columbia. Of course, my old neighbor had to tell me that he now has good new neighbors next door. Ed said that having me, a retired pastor, next door for seven years was enough punishment for a lifetime. My cousin Ed informed me that he has freedom again. He no longer has to watch what he says or does. I never realized my presence intimidated Ed in the least. I guess he was on his best behavior and I missed it. I know how that can happen, as I have often been on my best behavior and my wife never realized it either.

Ed was on his best behavior, over the phone yesterday, as he thanked me for my gift to him before we left, Melville.  Several years ago on a tour of Ireland, we visited Bushmills Distillery in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. This distillery claims to be the oldest one in the world. That claim is from a 1608 license granted by King James 1st to distil whiskey. When Ed was at our house watching us pack cupboards for moving, he saw that we had an unopened bottle of Irish whiskey. Ed has always claimed that, whiskey is, as good as, or better than medicine. Ed takes a slug to a glass of whiskey for colds, flu, feelings of sluggishness or stress. Ed repeatedly said that good whiskey is the tonic of life.

Cousin Ed

4 May

Be A Family Member By Blood, Marriage or Promotion

Ed was my neighbor next door. Before we recently moved away from Melville, Ed decided to promote himself into becoming our honorary cousin. He claimed he put up with me, far too long, not to claim some payback rewards. He said that if he calls himself our cousin, I will have to treat him as a relative when he arrives for a visit in British Columbia. Before, we drove away from 6th Avenue Ed admitted that I did have one strong point. He claimed I was a good listener. Apparently, good listeners are hard to find, as Ed plans to keep in touch with me by phone and Skype. Ruby keeps in touch with their Edmonton relatives by Skype and Ed is planning to talk to me in BC that way also. I imagine that I will hear from Ed every week, as Ed’s strong point is that he is good at talking at people any way possible.

It will be good to hear from my old neighbor each week. Especially, for the first weeks, while we will be near our daughter in Washington, State. We cannot move into our condo in BC right away. We are facing seven weeks of being gone from our old home until we are in our new one. We will be what the Bible refers to as sojourners. A sojourner means one who stays temporarily for a time in one place. I find that it is an unsettling feeling not to have a permanent home for seven weeks. It requires patience to mark time somewhere as a visitor, stranger, alien, and foreigner. Everyone wants to feel settled at home where they belong. In the Bible, the sojourner, the foreigner, stranger, and the traveler could suffer from abuse and victimization. The hometown folks dismissed sojourners as having no importance.


4 May

Sometimes, it is best to have a broken hand.

Ed, my neighbor next door, has developed a grin that will not quit. My neighbor finds it harder to keep from whistling a happy tune every time he sees me. His relief that we are moving grows as he watches me packing and sorting in a genuine moving mode. I told Ed that I could use a hand to move a treadmill and sofa for our garage sale. Ed informed me, that when others want help lifting and carrying, he always has a broken hand. According to my neighbor, unless you let people know, that your helping hand is broken, people will ask you to help them with anything and everything.

Ed told me the other day that he no longer needs to be nice to me because we are moving. I told him that, it could come back to haunt him. My neighbor is planning on visiting us in British Columbia for some salmon fishing and hunting there. I may not be able to recognize him when he comes to visit. Ed isn’t worried, as he is certain I can never forget him. He delights in telling me it my Christian duty to treat him with respect and hospitality. It shouldn’t matter if he wasn’t nice or didn’t help me. I need to turn a welcoming cheek to him in BC.


21 Apr

Call People Names that will Upset and Offend Them

Ed, my neighbor next door, refuses to believe I could live so long and know so little. My neighbor was irritated with me last week when he asked me the worst name I could call another person. Ed likes to call other folks names, like, brain-dead, stupid, greedy and ding-bat. These were among the milder labels he puts on people. When I told him, it was no compliment to call other people, ‘sheep.’ He lost himself in pure frustration with me.

“Hit me with a stick or stone, and I might bleed,” Ed fumed. “Call me stupid or a ding-bat and look out for those are fighting words. Call me a sheep and I could care less! Ray, you are so pathetic that you cannot even insult other people with force,” my neighbor ranted at me.