Thursday, August 28, 2014

The tireman

We left Buchanan after lunch, headed west and then turned north at Watson.  I had planned to turn north at Wadena but we’ve gone to Saskatoon too many times so we were headed west out of Wadena before I realized what I was doing.  It didn’t really matter – our destination was Prince Albert so we had about 4 possible routes from Buchanan and they were all roughly the same distance.  I just haven’t been up that highway from Wadena through Archerwill and Tisdale for a long time. 

Instead of Archerwill we got to see the tireman at Daphne.  There’s not much left of Daphne.  Beyond the tireman, there’s really nothing left of Daphne.  The tireman on the other hand has been there as long as I can remember and we’re talking childhood memories now.  Early childhood.

20140828_150254 I think he’s been rebuilt a few times.  My recollection is that the version from my childhood had a body made of tires as well.  And the original tires weren’t painted.  He may very well be like your grandfather’s axe – 3 new handles and 1 new head but otherwise the same axe he cleared the homestead with.

Today the tireman stands guard over a roadside store.  They had signs out claiming that they had fresh produce for sale so we stopped in search of new potatoes.  I detoured to take a picture of tireman and Marilyn went into the store.  Evidently she missed the sign which caught my attention as I entered.  I’m paraphrasing now but it said something to the effect of:

We love our children dearly so that’s why we let every bug in christendom shit all over our produce which we then sell to you.  We also don’t believe in sustainable production so we constantly mine the ground that produces the food we sell.

Like I said, I’m paraphrasing – but we didn’t buy anything either. Instead we went on to Melfort and followed the signs to the farmers’ market on the Co-op parking lot.  There we found Steve Rudy from Nipawin selling produce out the side of a panel van.  I used to sell Steve liquid fertilizer so I asked him if his potatoes were organic.  I think Steve is losing it a bit – he clearly didn’t recognize me but he immediately assured me that his potatoes were in fact organic.  I of course challenged him and he immediately agreed that he did use some non-organic inputs.  Where he is growing potatoes if he didn’t at the very least use potash his spuds would be scabby diseased monsters.  And the ones we bought were on the contrary, very fine specimens of potatoes.  And they tasted wonderful when we boiled some of them for supper.

It struck me though how quick Steve was to claim organic status, as if it was automatically good.  Clearly he had been asked the question before and equally clearly the right answer was to claim organic status, no matter how conventional his production practices might be.  After a very few minutes of conversation Steve launched into an explanation of the superiority of his cabbage crop and how essential it was to use insecticides on cabbages.  Evidently his neighbours are constantly asking how he can grow cabbages while theirs get eaten up by worms.  The answer of course is to kill all the moths that lay the eggs that subsequently hatch into worms.  Its really sad that a man who has figured out how to grow premium vegetables on sandy marginal land finds it necessary to lie about how he grows those vegetables.

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