Home Easter visits!

What a sunny and warm Easter weekend that was.

Holy jumping! I'll take the heat as long as the rain comes with though. Not too much precipitation this past winter and the soil shows it. How do I know so much about the humidity levels of dirt you ask. Well, it's because I did a lot of digging this weekend. A lot of hands on knowledge from the garden.

I cut down trees. I moved trees. I raked the lawn. I turned over dirt in the vegetable patch (after picking last year's carrots of course). Here are some pictures of me tearing out trees at the bottom of the garden.

My mum took these because she wanted me to post them to the blog. She likes to interact with the internet, just a step or two further removed than most. Also, she was very concerned that my readers know what a hard worker I am.

Here it is folks. Proof! Proof that I have a lower back!

The visit home was a good one. They're all nice but this one left me in a particularly positive frame of mind. I think it was because I was outside lots, barefoot and labouring, and didn't waste a lot of time watching TV or on the internet. Having a crummy computer and a slow internet connection at home means I get frustrated much faster. Webpages sometimes take a long time to load, so a video had better have an amazing description or I'm not even going to bother.

That and the computer's in a cold basement!

I also had some time visiting with friends, which inevitably meant heading down to Jason's Pub (aka The Pube. We're a witty bunch). Well, we tried to go to the pub, but the people there were the regulars. Fortunately the regulars included a man playing pool who must have been 400 pounds if he was 10, dressed in matching bright yellow shorts and t-shirt. I have called him 'The Sun'. Also there was a little fellow I see around town with a funny scrunched up nose and really squinty eyes, dressed head to toe (including hat) in turkey hunting camouflage. I have called him 'Turks'.

I don't know about you guys, but I for one cannot wait to read the next thrilling episode of Turks and The Sun as they troll around Owen Sound looking for one more beer and fresh turkey.

I should point out, there's no shortage of "characters" at Jason's, these are just the two that caught my eye as I walked through.

After Jason's we went over to The Dark Side, that being a concert venue (?), literally across the hall. I didn't know it was called that until this visit, but it has definitely been called that for as long as I've been alive. Both of these are of course in Jason's Road House, which features rooms for rent upstairs and a reputation for dirt (of ALL varieties). I could go on but I'm sure you get the idea.

So off to The Harb it was! And by off to The Harb I of course mean the line outside the bar. There are only the two bars in the city, the Harb being the dancier one, so sometimes there is a line.
The police car is just there because if something's going to go down, it's going to go down here. A few years ago there was a do in the city because of a few rowdy nights when the bars let out. The Owen Sound Sun Times claimed people were coming into town from kilometers away for 'fight nights' and local entrepreneurs were selling pizza from the trunks of their cars to spectators.


Beach Brothers used to be across the road from The Harb, but it was torn down a few years ago, and with competition like this across the street is anyone really surprised?
There is another bar, Smuggler's (more commonly Smugg's, or the local stripping establishment) above The Harb, but I didn't go. I was intent on chatting with Dank and he was anchored in the line by his fiancee, so there we remained.

Wish I'd gone upstairs though, just for the adventure. I wasn't drinking, but beers for $5 in a strip club? Maybe I should have been. Chatting later with people who had gone up I heard the normal banter about which dancers might have been pregnant, etc. and an amusing tale of a greeting dismissed.

Upon getting into the bar my friend Bustin' saw a mutual acquaintance from high school. Let's call him Jason, because that's his name. Bustin' first instinct was to say, "Jason!" in his normal slightly excited greeting voice. Jason's instinct was to turn away and ignore the greeting, pretending he didn't hear in the grossly underpopulated bar.

My commentary is this. If you're in a strip club, whatever. If you're in a strip club by yourself, whatever. If you're in a strip club by yourself in your hometown and someone from high school, even if said someone wasn't your friend or in your main group of peers, says hi, don't be a dink and ignore the situation.

I'm probably being too harsh. Maybe he was just feeling shy or embarrassed. Or maybe he was thinking Oh this loser. What a loser this guy is. No way I'm talking to him. What a loser. I'm going back to watching this possibly pregnant lady dance instead.

So, waiting in line was fun but eventually, after seeing a woman leave the bar, obviously pregnant, probably hammered and definitely smoking, we went back to Jason's (nothing to do with that Jason guy I mentioned above). By then demographics had shifted and we had people to sit and talk to. And so the night went.

Home was also good because my mum was in fighting form. She was riled up over recent changes to abattoir regulations, changes that are causing smaller operators difficulties as they are forced to spend precious resources to meet new, seemingly arbitrary regulations.

Bureaucrats at work!

Read this.

Small locally-owned and operated, provincially-inspected abattoirs
are a key ingredient in safe, local food. They provide a crucial link
between livestock farmers and the local food movement.

As farmers, meat processors and consumers committed to local food, we
are afraid that small, provincially-inspected abattoirs are
disappearing from our communities. As the Minister of Agriculture,
Food and Rural affairs we are asking you to help save the small
abattoirs across Canada.

Now do something about it people! By sending letters to this lady.

Hon Carol Mitchell
Minister Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Public Archive Building
77 Grenville St., 11th Floor
Toronto, ON M5S 1B3

I was sent south with a stack of cards printed with the above message and a pile of stamps to make sure they got where they needed to go. Daydream was kind enough to distribute a pile at chef school, but if you want to do something, you have all the info you need above. And if you want an official card I'm sure my mum will hook you up.

And then it was over. Delicious lamb supper on Sunday then on the bus bright and early Monday morning with about 20 Mennonites!!! This was pretty exciting for me because a lot of them seemed pretty excited to be travelling and I had a whole bus ride to make some observations. I wasn't staring the whole time, but this is what I noticed:

Everyone has their luggage tagged.

Except for one older fellow most of the riders were young (18-28) and everyone seemed to be married or at least paired off. There were also some very young children/babies along for the ride (all girls I think) and a few boys that looked early teen-ish.

Everyone had great skin. Not a blemish in the bunch. My theory on this is that they are doing what young people are meant to be doing, ie having sex and having babies, so all their hormones are in sync. Also, they are working outside a lot and mostly eating what they grow and prepare so don't have a lot of excess crap in their systems.

I like how the ubiquitous male bowl-cut swoops out at the bottom because they wear hats all the time.

They became excited at two point during the journey. Once when we were driving through Holland Marsh, where there is lots of farming activity, all the men got right up against the windows. A second time as we passed a livestock truck they all crowded to one side to see what was inside. The answer: pigs! I have nothing grand to say about this, except it shows that people are interested in what they do and know.

BUT what I really want to know is why they were all going to Toronto? Was there a Mennonite convention of which I was not made aware?

And to close with one last thought. Cold lamb is great. I should have taken more.

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