Monday, January 07, 2019

Dairy Farming: Like a Cow is Drying Up?

I read an article by a dairy farmer on the Washington Post website about the plight and struggles of small family dairy farms.  The struggles of small farms that force them to shut down.  There are number of reasons they are shutting down including not being able to afford to continue operating.

I give much credit and respect to those small family farms that are making a go wherever in Canada or the United States they are.  Without diary farming, including the small farms, there wouldn't be the milk to produce various other items.  Same goes for the small family grain farms.

The United States needs to do something to help the little guy.  They need do something to make people want to get into farming.  For a meager average Joe wanting to choose farming as a career choice, it is not cheap to start and keep going.  If small farms keep shutting in these numbers, all we'll be left with is the mega dairy farms. They need to treat it more than corporation. I do give credit to those that don't.  I give them credit for operating with the ideology and philosophy as the small ones.  That is if they do operate that way.

Donald Trump, by the sounds of it, hasn't done much to support and help the farmers.  That needs to change.  You can't just focus on other areas.  There is a real need to help the farmers.  A need to help, what some would call, the backbone and heart of America.

Farming is one of the oldest professions.  It goes back 12,000 to 13,000 years and originated in Ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Israel, Palestine, southeastern Turkey, and western Iran).  Is the need for dairy farming becoming less and less as we are becoming more dependent on the large scale dairy farming operations?  Throughout history, we've depended on farmers for providing certain items like milk and crops to produce other items.  We can't lose the small family run dairy farms because we can't rely solely on the big dairy farms.

Where I grew up, south of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan; there were a number of dairy farms.  Now I don't even know if there are any still operating.  My dad and Grandpa got out of dairy farming in the 90s when my dad went to work for the government.  Slowly but surely, the small farms are shutting down.

My dad loved going to see a big dairy farm in Arizona on one of his yearly trips there.  He, after all, was a dairy farmer.  So of course, it was only natural he loved it.

I may not have been too interested in becoming a farmer as I grew up (although at one time I wanted to be a farmer when I was very young).  But this article does hit close to home.  The small farms shutting down for whatever reason is all too real.  It is a sad reality as we need more than just the big dairy farms.  I don't know what can be done, but something has to done.  Something has got to give.  I do give those credit for making a go of it no matter how hard it is.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Change in Sleep Pattern

As you may or may not know, the last little while, my sleep has been screwed up. What happens is, I wake up after a few hours or so. It doesn't matter if go to bed at a decent time or little later. There are times where I woke up after a couple of hours.  It's not good.

No, I don't start my day between 4-6 am. I set my alarm for 7 am. For the most part, I have been waking up before my alarm. That is not always a bad thing, but when you are not getting a full and proper sleep, it is.

A couple things have been going through my mind about this sleep pattern. One is that I am wondering if I am actually becoming an insomniac. That's not something I have had to deal with. Sure there have been times when times when I can't sleep. But that's not the same as being an insomniac. My stepdad is an insomniac. A functioning insomniac at that.  I don't know how he can function of four hours of sleep.  I need a decent amount of sleep to function.

I have been thinking that it could be my recent health issues with my seizures that caused this all.  Before I started recovering, I was waking up at 3 am.  I wonder if that is reason I am now waking up at various times of the night.  The seizures were happening late last month.

I am not sure what exactly is causing this change in my sleep pattern.  But I am leaning towards my seizures being the cause.  I hope I don't insomnia.  It's been three weeks since this change in my sleep pattern has happened.  I have been thinking that maybe I need to start taking melatonin.  It is an over the counter sleeping pill.  I probably won't need a prescription for a sleeping pill.  My stepdad takes a prescription sleeping pill because he needs something strong to help get him to sleep.

Whatever the case may be, I want to find the answer and a solution.  I would like to find a solution without taking some sort of sleep aid if possible.  But if I do end up having to take a sleeping or some other sleep aid, I am fine with that.  I can't get in to see my doctor till January.  So I will have to deal with this current sleep pattern until unless I do a walk-in at the clinic I go to.  Either way, this will be dealt with.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

A Recent Life Changing Event

I have fought with family such as sisters, mom, and dad, a certain cousin growing up. But at the end of the day, I know they will have my back even though I have made mistakes. I am going to change. For those that don't know, I had a recent epilepsy flare up and had seizures. I haven't been consistent in taking my meds.

It was a life changing experience. I was seizure free for three years. I had people supporting me during that time. But now I need some positive vibes as I am getting back on track with consistently taking my meds and getting my blood sugars in range.

Also with support and help, I will drop the necessary 100+ pounds to get to my ideal weight. If anybody wants to come to the gym with me and help kick my ass and motivate me, it would be greatly appreciated.

Big thank you to one of my best friends in Mark. Even though he lives in another province, we talk all the time and he gives me encouragement. It is also good that I have co-workers who care and that I can talk to them. I am blessed having friends of the family, other distant relatives, fellow members of my church who are or were in the medical field as nurses or doctors. I know most of them are a message away if I need some support and medical advice. Thank you for that.

Being stubborn growing up has brought me to a place of being diabetic and epileptic. My mom and dad warned me that I could and would become diabetic. It runs in my family. Hell, a distant cousin had seizure and died at a family reunion 22 years ago. You would think that would put things in perspective. Obviously not. My sister, Angela, reminds me of that. Even though it is hard to hear, it is a reality that could happen.

Here I am working on bettering myself. I will be a tough road, but the end results will be worth it. The end result will be better for my diabetes as I will no longer rely on my meds and insulin. That's a positive for type 2 diabetes.

Last year, I made some progress with weight loss. That will happen again. It's not because I want it to happen; it's because it needs to happen. No if, ands, or buts about it.

Again, whatever encouragement, support, and love you can send my way; I am grateful for any and all of it.

May you have the most merriest and blessed Christmas. Thank you.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Is the Anglican Church Shrinking?

Some denominations in Christianity are facing a major problem.  They are faced with the problem that they are shrinking.  The Anglican Church of Canada is no exception.  While I grew up in the Anglican church, I eventually moved over to Covenant after high school as did go to an Covenant youth group during high school.  But that doesn't mean I have turned my back on Anglicanism.  I do like going to my home Anglican church of St. David's in my hometown of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.  Even when I went to Covenant Bible College in Strathmore, Albert; I went to St. Michael's and All Angels Anglican Church.

As you can see I haven't totally left the Anglican church regardless of my situation now.  Talking with my sister recently on Skype, the Diocese of Saskatchewan is in a bind to put in nicely.  Debt, a lack of clergy, and shrinking numbers in some churches are a few of the issues facing the diocese.  Nothing is being done to try and fix these issues.  Apparently, some of these problems go back to the previous bishop.

As of summer 2018, St. David's had a minister.  But he left to go to another church.  It is good he moved on as he would have had to minister to eight different churches.  Having to minister to churches in Birch Hill, St. Louis, three in Prince Albert (which includes St. David's), Kinistino, MacDowell, and other places could tire and burn out a person.  If someone is hired as the minister of St. David's, they apparently have to sign a contract to minister to these other churches.

What's even more sad is that some of these churches have a very low attendance on Sundays.  But it is also no surprising as I have had this feeling that some of the smaller churches, already with low attendances, are facing the issue of a continued decrease in numbers or they are stagnant.  At one point, it seems like St. David's was stagnant in their number.  But when I went to a service after years away, I seen a lot of newer members which was great.

Some churches with smaller attendance should merge with another church.  In the past, two Anglican churches merged with success.  Apparently, the current bishop of the Diocese of Saskatchewan doesn't want to do that.  Unless you can find a way to increase numbers and find a minister to work at these churches, merging seems like the best thing to do.

The issue of numbers and the lack of ministers and the numbers is the tip of the iceberg.  The Diocese of Saskatchewan is also in debt.  A lot of churches in various diocese in the Anglican of Church of Canada have been in debt.  In fact, in Inuvik, the Anglican church there was in debt that they lost their minister in 2016.  Other diocese and churches have gotten out of debt.  That's great for them.  But apparently, in 2012, the Anglican Church of Canada was nearly a million dollars in debt.

Even though churches are exempt from paying taxes, that doesn't mean much as a lot of churches, diocese, etc. are in debt. Again, the Diocese of Saskatchewan is no different.  The debt is such that they can't afford the synod offices.  Apparently, there has been the idea of moving the synod offices into St. Alban's. I am no financial expert, but how much would help in reducing the debt?

I like the Anglican church.  But there are issues that need to be addressed.  Hopefully they do start addressing these issues and start getting on the right track.  If other churches and diocese in Canada can do it, I am sure the Diocese of Saskatchewan can too.  They just need to come up with a plan and start from there.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

October 17, 2018 - Marijuana is Legal in Canada

I haven't blogged in eight months.  There have been many items I could have blogged about, but I didn't.  But marijuana becoming legal in Canada, that is a good topic.

With today (October 17, 2018) being the date, marijuana becomes legal, people who are recreational and medicianl users are rejoicing that it is becoming legal.  People who have used it for whatever reason, they have been waiting for it to become legal.  It's not like the United States that allow individual states to make the choice to make it legal or not.

The history of marijuana being illegal in Canada goes back to 1923 according to a CBC article.  Basically, it has been a 95 year wait for marijuana to become legal again.  Historians have tried to find any record of a debate, but they have found no such thing.  That seems odd.  You would think there would be records of it.  Apparently not.

When marijuana was added to the schedule of proscribed by Parliament,  Canada became one of the first countries to make it illegal.  The United States made it illegal 14 years later during the Great Depression.

In 1923, then Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King's Liberal government introduced an Act to Prohibit the Improper Use of Opium and other Drugs.  Henri Beland, who was the health minister at the time, said the bill was a consolidation of other legislation that had been passed over the previous few years, with some changes.Heroin, codeine and "cannabis indica (Indian hemp) or hasheesh" were also proscribed and added to the new bill.

Apparently the Hansard is the only recorded mention of the changes to schedule.  It happened on April 23rd
when Beland told the House of Commons, "There is a new drug in the schedule."

 There were three new drugs added to the schedule.  According to historian
Catherine Carstairs, Beland was probably referring to cannabis when he said there was this "new" drug because in the government's view, "the other two are extensions of other products that had already been added to the schedule."

Side note,
Carstairs is the author of Jailed for Possession: Illegal Drug Use, Regulation and Power in Canada, 1920-1961 and chair of the University of Guelph's history department.

Fast forward to May 3rd.  It was the Senate's turn to review to review the legislation.  Raoul Dandurand, the Liberal government's leader in the Senate, told his colleagues, "There is only one addition to the schedule: Cannabis Indica (Indian Hemp) or hasheesh."The 1991 book Panic and Indifference: The Politics of Canada's Drug Laws is the most detailed account of the events of 1923.  It states that the health department’s narcotic division's files contain a draft of the bill that does not include cannabis. There are also several carbon copies, and to one of them was added, "Cannabis Indica (Indian Hemp) or hasheesh."

Nobody knows who ordered it added to the schedule.  B
oth the House and the Senate agreed to the additions without any discussion.You might find it odd that nobody challenged the addition to the schedule.  There was little know about this "drug" in Canada and apparently, very few people were smoking it.

No newspapers made reference to marijuana and the first seizure of it by the police didn't come until 1932, nearly ten years later.

In 1922, a book entitled he Black Candle, by Emily Murphy, is frequently given as the reason for then Prime Minister King's government to make marijuana illegal.  Apparently there is no evidence that this book or Murphy influenced the government's decision outside of coincidence.

Panic and Indifference: The Politics of Canada's Drug Laws states that unlike drugs added to the schedule and proscribed, marijuana was criminalized before it was defined as a "social problem."  "Why this was so remains a mystery."

This was all during an era of prohibition and King was an advocate against opium which goes back to 1908.  Also,
Carstairs says that there's no record King was then keeping a close eye on the drug file and she has found no reference to marijuana in his diaries.

Trying to brief with the history of marijuana, you can see the full article in the link.  Fast forward to modern times, Canada failed with trying to decriminalize marijuana.  When Justin Trudeau was elected, he promised that marijuana would become legal.  With various dates being talked about including July 1, 2018; obviously marijuana becoming legal never happened on those dates.  There were still a number of steps to go through before ending the 95-year prohibition.  That's why July 1st never happened.

I don't know how things will work in other provinces, but the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority is accepting applications for Wholesale Cannabis Permits/Licensed Producer Registration. Although, Quebec has their own cannabis/marijuana laws. One thing you can't do is sell items with the marijuana leaf on it unless it is government approved.  If you don't see the irony of this, that's on you.

A lot of people are complaining that if retailers sell it, it will be low quality and cheap thus the black market will still thrive for now.  Seems like they are just assuming based on what they think they know.  There will be dispensaries and shops that will open.  But will the various provincial and territorial governments regulate them like government owned liquor stores?  Will they tax it like alcohol?  Earlier this year, Manitoba announced multiple taxes on legal marijuana.

I am not a recreational user of marijuana at all.  Although I tried it once at a Halloween party as I was drunk.  It's like drinking or smoking.  Just because alcohol and cigarettes are legal, it doesn't mean you have to do it.  You don't have to do it.

There are lots of positives to it being legal even if you don't smoke it.  Everything from social, economical, and law enforcement reasons with the exception of driving while under the influence.  With it being legal and taxed, it will bring in extra money for the government to help possibly reduce debt.  If you look at California, marijuana sales top $14 billion annually.  Just think what that can do for Canada.

I could talk about medical marijuana, but that's another post for another time.

If you are recreational user of marijuana, congrats.  Go enjoy marijuana freely as this was a long time coming.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Song of the Day #59

Here is a song from the Calgary rock band Crooked Spies.  I seen them at Vangelis which is now being re-branded and renamed to Black Cat Pizza.  Crooked Spies are so tight.  They are very good.  This song is one of my favourites from them.  I listened all their stuff on Spotify.  I recommend checking them out.

"Full Moon Rising" by Crooked Spies
YouTube link

Friday, February 16, 2018

Lent 2018 - Doing What I've Done Before

Lent 2018 is in full swing.  It started on Valentine's Day.  I haven't done anything for Lent in a few years or so.  It's mainly because I don't know when it starts.  But this year I made the conscious decision to know when it started.  I was debating on if should do something.  Each time I did Lent, I gave up the same thing.  I gave up junk food (pop, chips, candy, ice cream, and even dessert).  I know with me being diabetic, I should not be partaking in these items.  Old habits are hard to break.

I was doing well not eating or drinking these items when I first became diabetic in 2015.  I need to get back to how good I was doing.  I was doing well.  But we all have something we could consider a weakness.  If you say you don't have a weakness, I call bullshit on that.  I got past the first two days.  Although, Valentine's Day, I had some major cravings.  But I've didn't give in.  I found some alternatives in terms of drink options.  Popcorn, whether it is air popped or microwave popcorn, is a great alternative to other snacks.  I'm allowing myself  that.

In these modern times of Christianity, giving up something for Lent is similar to fasting.  It is also a time to reconnect with God.  Or so they say.  I admit I'm bad for connecting with God.  That doesn't make me a bad Christian.  Just because you are more  with God during Lent doesn't make you better than me.  I'm not the perfect Christian and I admit it.  But that will not take away from what I'm doing.

With other people being off social media for the duration of Lent, I have thought to myself that it is cliche.  One could say that what I am doing is cliche.  But if it is for the purpose of riding ourselves of worldly vices or distractions and turning ourselves towards God, than who am I to say anything?  But if you are doing it for the wrong reasons, than maybe you need to re-evaluate why you are doing it.  It seems hollow otherwise.  Sure there are Christians who do it for the wrong reasons.  Not only that, but people who practice "secular Lent" do it for the wrong reasons.  They use Lent or "secular Lent" as a time for self-improvement.  A recent Vox article on "secular Lent" makes great points and explains it well.  It's not about self-improvement.  A lot of people who practice "secular Lent" don't get that.

Sure it's about giving up vices and distractions and connecting with God, but it is also about suffering, mortality, and death.  But the latter three are not as focused on by a lot of people, myself included.  I focus on not trying to give in to my vices.  That's not necessarily a bad thing.

It would help if you could keep me accountable and not give in to vices.  Temptations are real and even though I've never given into them in the past, that doesn't mean I couldn't lapse and give in this time.  I am human after all.  Those who are giving up a vice or distraction to give up during this season, we are all in this together.  Help keep your fellow Christian accountable if need be.  I wish you well and the best of luck on your journey through Lent.  Godspeed.