RD March Letters 2019

Getting a foothold
RD: My mind is racing these cold winter days, so here is another true story. I used to visit a couple on an old farm in Albert County, New Brunswick. It was a big old farm, slowly running down. They had a small garden, kept a few cows, and cut hay for the cows. They cut pulp and firewood on the many wooded acres beyond the pasture.

When they told me the cow story, I decided to stay around till milking time to see for myself. After a quick supper, we all headed back the long path to the barn. The cows were already waiting by the gate. I went in the barn to see before the cows came in. Cows aren’t stupid, they always go to their own place. This one old cow came in first. She went to the number-one spot where she had stood for many years and had worn a hole through the first layer of boards for her right front foot (hoof). Very cautiously she placed her right front hoof in the hole.

We wondered why she did this? Was it an anchor to hold her in place? I’d never ever seen this before on all my visits to farms. Even on our own farm, no cow ever wore a hole through the floor. So it must have been a good many years she stood in that spot. No one knew her exact age, except she was old.

Hope this brings a chuckle. Have a great day.

Esther Bradley
Dorchester, N.B.

Ornithological error
RD: The article “The warbler and the flycatcher” in your January 2019 issue was very interesting, but the accompanying illustration labelled “Olive-sided Flycatcher” shows instead a flycatcher of a different genus (Empidonax), though which species (Alder, Least, Willow, or Yellow-bellied) is not clear from the photo. The bird pictured has a light eye-ring and two wing-bars, neither of which is found on Olive-sided Flycatchers. I enjoyed the article very much, but thought I should point out the mistake. Anyone who wants to see what an Olive-sided Flycatcher does look like can search on this excellent site: www.allaboutbirds.org.

Tony Diamond
Stanley, N.B.

(Thanks for bringing that to our attention, Tony. We are, admittedly, a little short on ornithological expertise here in the office. How many other birders noticed the mistake and just shook their heads sadly? DL)

Alienating opinions
RD: It is easy to armchair judge Alberta and its so-called “dirty oil” when Alberta is paying Canada’s bills. (“Editorial – Dream states and delusions,” RD Jan.-Feb., pg. 6.) Maybe we should be refusing the transfer payments that keep our social programs running? Alberta cannot afford it without their dirty oil and gas, and yes, I am one of those travellers who is paid a decent wage for which a Nova Scotia company would pay minimum wage for the same services. 

You talk about oil from the Middle East, or how about South America, when one of those ships sail out of the harbour with a boatload of Canadian cash that creates no jobs, pays no taxes, and provides no benefit to Canadians other than putting our harbours and shores at risk of an oil spill. 

And to say Alberta should be awash in money – let’s look at our current Canadian government spending money we don’t have, making poor Canadians struggle to buy groceries, thanks to a devalued dollar and massive amounts of debt. Now whose house should be in order?

And one last thing: Albertans do not care what Canadians think of them or their oil. What amazes me, with the current political climate and past wrongs, Western alienation (which you are contributing to), and politics with the pipelines, is why Alberta or Saskatchewan are still part of Canada.

And I will be amazed if you print this, but I had to write to tell you or educate you to the realities of being a part-time westerner, about how they really feel about Canada’s Liberal opinions.

PS – I love your articles and magazines, but I am sick of Western alienation. 

Kevin Clattenburg
Tangier, N.S.

(I’m glad you wrote to share your thoughts on this, Kevin. Interprovincial workers do us a service by helping to shed some light on the experiences and concerns of people in other parts of the country. Although it is comfortable here in my armchair, I am troubled by sour feelings among different regions. Our similarities and shared interests far outweigh our differences. DL)

RD goes Down Under
RD: Perhaps you can imagine us reading your magazine at the below, 50 metres from the beach, in 26-degree C weather here in Australia.

Addendum: We’re tenting in Sorrento, Victoria, about 90 km south of Melbourne. The weather has been perfect. We finally left the Christmas heat behind. And I’m into my fifth book.

Robert McGrail
Sherbrooke, N.S.

(Oh, can we ever imagine that! And your photo really rubs it in. Being jealous of you is only natural, but to be jealous of our own better-travelled magazine?! We’re glad that RD is must-have reading wherever you are. Enjoy the beach and the weather too. MB)

Just one more twig
RD: Re: “Potluck – The big chill,” (RD Jan.-Feb, pg.8). Perhaps when these gentlemen finish cutting, Dirk can split this stick.

Bruce Blakemore
Cape Negro, N.S.