DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" ""> Tossing Pebbles in the Stream: 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Joy of Owning Livestock: Exercise Regime

Yes, those are eight young pigs in my neighbours field rooting around for goodies in the fresh manure of the neigbours cattle.

This was the second time this day that I discovered them at another neighbours place and had to begin the task of coaxing them home.

Here are thr rest of the wayward "herd". That is Lucy the calf standing on the road in front of Rosie, the Duroc sow, and the other two of her offspring snacking on the grain I put down for them to keep them off the road.

Lucy, who believes I am her mother, will not stay put. When I go back up the road to to coax the other 8 piglets to follow me home, Lucy follows me. It is hard to be in two places at the same time so we repeat the dance: Start Lucy toward home, hoping Rosie will join her, and I slip away to try to get the rest to join the parade. Whoops, Lucy wants to follow me and Rosie wants to wander into the neighbours plowed field on the other side of the road. ME, well, I am wandering back and forth with a pail of grain trying to tempt my charges into believing I am in charge and they should follow me.

While cows can be herded, pigs have to follow of their own volition.

It took about 1 1/2 hours but in the end I prevailed. I have patience. . . . .They let me!

Finally, I coaxed the group onto one of my fields away from the road only after the wayward eight pigs, on their own, decided they had exhausted the possibilities of rooting in the manure and came merrily down the road to join the calf, sow and other two piglets. Slowly the parade of animals followed me,-- the pied piper and pig whisper of the farm back to the barn, right into their pens as if that is the way it is supposed to happen. (cleaned out by me which is why they were loose in the first place.)

This little rural drama was not that bad except it was the second time today I have had to retrieve them. In the morning they traveled 1/2 a mile away across the bridge to another neighbour's field where the ten piglets enjoyed chasing a horse and six cows around the field. This first outing they left the calf behind as she will not walk on the wooden bridge. When I first tried to locate them Lucy was already heading home on her own. Thank God for small mercies!! This earlier "round-up" took an hour plus.

So today, I got to spend an inordinate amount of time with some of my most interesting animals, in the fresh air. In all it involved about two miles of walking, I estimate. No need for me to join a gym for exercise! I can get refreshingly exhausted with exercise in the best of company.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Return of the Lady continued

It did not take "V" long to cook up some cinnamon rolls and fresh coffee to tempt me.

Soon some seasonal decorations appeared. New Curtains, too.

It was not long before she was canning on the woodstove tranforming the tomatoes I ripened indoors into tomato sauce, filling the house with delicious odors.

This time she did not come alone. The black pup, Lady came with her. Two ladies are twice the fun they tell me.

I am not sure of what all this attention means but I am sure to find out soon! I have my suspicions:))))

It is nice to not be alone and get such caring attention.

The Lady Has Returned

The day the Fair Floridian, or should I now call her the Alluring Alabamian, returned to River Valley she got here just ahead of our first snow storm. She was a day ahead of when I thought she might show up. Lucky I was behaving myself whewn she showed up. ;)

The storm had large fluffy flakes falling. Quite delightful for someone from the American South. As you can see in the picture below it was quite a grey day with the heavy snowfall. Only two inches fell so we were lucky as further south around Buffalo, New York and Fort Erie, Ontario they got two feet of snow.

It did not take her long to jump right in and take up where she left off. Here she is hanging out laundry in the snowstorm

"V" began transforming my house into a cosy home again more to her liking. I like it, too.

New table cloth, placemats and items on the old side board.

I will post some more pictures on another posting as it seems blogger only can handle three at a time.

The Day Freedom Died

Yesterday, President Bush passed the Military Tribunal Bill that set aside the Constitutional guarantee of habeas corpus for a large number of residents of the United States and anyone who might be in transit by air at a US airport. It puts at risk 12 million illegal aliens and legal alien residents of the United States who could be deemed by the executive branch of the government as "illegal enemy combatants". (a broad concept that now includes those who might intentionally or unintentionally assist "an enemy combatant.") With the loss of the Constitutional guarantee of habeas corpus these people cannot appeal to the courts for a ruling on the legal basis of their arrest and imprisonment. New take on old right of habeas corpus

In effect, there are now two classes of residents of the United States according to their constitutional rights: citizens, (unless a President declares them illegal enemy combatants and strips them of their citizenship) and non-citizens.

I lived for 10 years in the United States, during which I was politically active. I was a legal resident alien (a non citizen who has a visa to work and live in the US. ) I acted as if I was a citizen. As a minister of a very Liberal church I saw it as my religious responsibility as their minister to speak out and be active on social and political issues. Some of my actions, no doubt, displeased elements in agencies of the government. I was involved with a group of clergymen who referred women for abortions before they were legal in the US. I spoke out and organized protests against the War in Vietnam. Likewise, I was involved in the civil rights movement. I supported the local chapter of the Black Panther Party in New Haven. I even publically support a Communist Party candidate for Congress. Such activities were widespread and acceptable in liberal New England. I was never arrested or even interviewed by anyone in authority. But I know the FBI and the New Haven police had me under surveillance. (Years later I was part of a group that successfully sued the New Haven police for illegally wiretapping our telephones.) I know I had an FBI file as there officials openly took our pictures as we attended legal public meetings against the war). I now believe I was protected by the Constitution.

I used to worry that as a non-citizen that I had no right to be so political. Whenever I asked, friends insisted I had all the protections of the Constitution. "ALL men are created equal."
How I admire the United States as a land that defended all men and were are beacon for freedom. An example, for the whole world. No I didn't think it was a perfect country or I would not have been joining the struggles for change. BUT, I knew it was a "work in process" and people of conscience and conviction could bring about constructive change. If by chance I was arrested to suffer nothing more than being deported.

If this new law is allowed to stand, the United States will have differentiated itself from the civilized community of Nations that believe in the rule of law with its cornerstone, habeas corpus. I expect the Supreme Court will ultimately declare the law unconstitutional. Even the current conservative court should defend the integrity of the Constitution.

In the mean time, the Executive Branch of the government, has the power of an absolute Monarch. It alone can deny a person the rights of habeas corpus. It reserves for itself the right to define "illegal enemy combatant". It also can justify its action on the basis of self incriminating evidence extracted by torture. There are not the usual rights of appeal from the decision of a military tribunal. In effect, the President can deem a person, citizen or non citizen, as an illegal enemy combatant (now expanded to include fellow travellers), have them arrested and held indefinitely unless the defendant can prove they are not an enemy combatant.

Living in the United States , as I did years ago, must be very different. This law must make non citizens in particular very uneasy. It no doubt will have a chilling effect on their participation in activities that are legal fo citizens.

The crack in the Liberty Bell surely has become symbolic of this legal fracture of the United States. One can only hope that the Great Republic can recover from this attack on the Constitution and once again gain its great vision as a beacon for freedom and the rule of law around the world.

George Bush is asking Americans to "Trust me!" I can't believe the majority of Americans trust him any more. I am sure many American residents feel less secure in their person and no longer believe in the US "All men are created equal."

I grieve for my American neighbours and must now pressure the Canadian government to get special agreements and assurances from the US for the protection of Canadian citizens living in the US or just travelling through a US airport.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Another Little Boy Named Parker

I raised my son, Parker, since he was three as a single father. I was so blessed that he was healthy, smart, well adjusted and became a good citizen and remarkable father in his own right.

I recently read about another little boy named Parker. Life is a great struggle for him medically. He is a member of what seems to be to be a remarkable Latter Day Saint family with six children. Their Parker is a blessing to them but also a great challenge to help him overcome his ill health.

I can only wish, I could be as resourceful and resilient as this family which loves and care for Parker, if I was faced this such a challenge. There are those who seem to face life heroically and then there are the rest of us.

I'M Back

I have been on a blogging hiatis. I have not published anything on my blog for three weeks.

There are three reasons.

1. I foolishly switched to the beta blogger believing the comment from blogger that eventually everyone will. Why not jump into the beginning of the line! Well I found out soon enough. "Beta" means it is a work in progress. It does not yet work properly. I discovered I cannot "Blog This" directly from my picasa photo program. I also discovered I cannot comment on other blogs or have them comment on mine unless they too have switched to beta blogger. The clincher is that once you have crossed over you cannot return. I cannot go back to the originally blogger.

Yes, there are assurances that the glitches will be resolved but it has been three weeks of being annoyed and nothing sees resolved. Makes me want to spit.

2. I have been trying to figure out what form my blog should take. What started out as a largely social, political and religious comment blog transformed itself into a personal blog of what I have been up to on my farm. It became a largely picture blog after I got access to a digital camera and my personal life got focused with the fair Floridian joining me in a homesteading adventure. Well she left and I carried on with somewhat less enthusiasm for I had done the homesteading thing(subsistence farming more accurately) once before largely alone while I raised Parker and a handful for neighbourhood children and foster children. Well, Miss "V" is back. More on that later.

3. I am so frustrated by a desire to comment on so much going on in the World, that i don't seem to be able to get going at it. I am reluctant to inflict my thoughts on others. I find myself distressing over the disaster that has become the Great Republic on our southern border. A country which I once admired and enjoyed living in for a decade has been mutilated almost beyond recognition to becoming, along with Israel (another noble experiment gone bad) a terrorist state in the name of fighting terrorist internationally. There is so much I would like to comment on: the obscenity of a pointless war which has cost so many American and Iraqi lives to test the political theories of a cadre of neoconservatives, who are neither "new" or conservative, They are just old time fascists, (If you care to trace their roots back through the teachings of Leo Strauss you can find connections with the intellectuals behind Hitler);and, definitely not "conservatives" (I like to think of them as Liberal progressives "On steroids" with roots in the thinking of Trotsky." {see, I cannot resist commenting.)

The destruction of civil and political liberties in the US is very distressing. When Canada instituted the War Measures Act in the light of a "faux" threat of a 1000 cells of FLQ terrorist I told my American friends that the American citizens would never quietly accept the setting aside of their rights. How wrong I was. Spying on citizens, creating two classes of residents, those with constitutional protection and those without, and worst yet destroying the guarantee of Habeus Corpus. There is hardly a wimper where their should be general stikes and massive protests in the streets to rescind such draconian measures. And surely, the least that could happen is the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. I would hope someday they would be turned over to the International Criminal Court to be tried as war criminals. Not by Americans that would be too much to expect but by citizens of another country who have them arrested on a trip outside of the US.

I could go on. There is the stupid idea of a fence along the Canada US border; the out of control debt of the US that threatens the world economy, the arrest and torture of Canadian citizens, one only a child of 15 when grabbed; the live fire zones for the US Coast guard on the Great Lakes for the first time; the Bush administrations attacks on the environment. etc, etc,etc. It seems the Bush administration has gotten nothing right other than to widden the gap between the corporate elite and the rest of the citizens. Americans deserve better government BUT they also must demand better government.

These days my mood swings from despair and dismay for my American friends, family and neighbours to a feeling of "shadenfreudan", (taking delight in anothers suffering), as the wheels fall off the Bush administration "Hummer": there being a recogning just around the corner.

I still have not decided what my blog should be. I am a complex person. I enjoy my "simple life" but I just can't seem to stop cramming ideas into my head and ranting about them anquishing over them and some time literally weeping over man's inhumanity to man. I admire those who can see God's loving hand in all this when often I feel God has forsaken us all and given up on the creation experiment.

For now, I have decided to blog on, work around the problems of blogger, allow my blog to organically unfold and find a better mix between just pictures of my life here on the edge of the Temagami wilderness and my intellectual obsessions.

That's the plan for now. Stay tuned.