Editor’s Column: From sledding fun to spoiled canola

Our rough collie, Duff, managed to keep up with the side-by-side pretty well, though he refuses to ride on the toboggan.

Winter is in full swing, with large-scale farmer meetings going on in Edmonton, Saskatoon, and Winnipeg.

Manitoba farmers who make time to go to CropConnect will have a chance to vote on whether or not their farmer-funded commodity groups should merge into one large group. In Alberta, barley and wheat growers will discuss some ideas about merging their two separate organizations. In Saskatoon, Saskatchewan pulse growers will decide whether or not their board of directors should be given the power to appoint additional members, to add further expertise to the elected board.

Farmers who make time to attend any of these meetings will have a chance to meet new board members and ask questions of all of the current board members and staff who run these commodity organizations. There will also be chances to learn the latest agronomy information, hear where the experts think markets are going and talk to the farmers you haven’t seen since the last producer meeting.

Surely all of this has to be more fun than a week at an all-inclusive in Mexico.

New sled

So far, our best purchase of the year has been the sled you can see in the photo. We have just (barely) enough snow to pull someone on it behind our side-by-side. Even the dog likes it.

What we really like about the sled is that it was made right here in Saskatchewan. It comes from a company called Svenson Toboggan, based in Admiral, Saskatchewan. We bought ours at the ski store in Regina, but after a bit of Googling, I’ve noticed that you can buy them in stores across the Prairies. Or, take a look at their website at svensentoboggan.com.

Life meets art

Some Grainews subscribers who also read Country Guide will know that I write a regular column in that magazine. The column, “Hanson Acres” is usually on the second-last page of the magazine, and it’s an ongoing fictional story about a farm family in southeast Saskatchewan. It’s not exactly like the farm I live on, but often the things that happen to the Hanson family are similar to the things that happen here.

Sometimes a little too similar.

A few evenings ago, I was working on the next Hanson Acres story, trying to imagine what the fictional family might be doing in mid-February. Maybe they’ll take their kids to the waterslides in North Dakota when they have that week-long school break, I thought. But that wasn’t going to be interesting enough. It would need more complications. Maybe the kids would get sick? The waterslides would be closed for maintenance. Could they get so excited about the Cinnabon at that gas station north of Williston that they leave one kid behind before they drive off?

Then I thought about what would be going on back at the farm while they were away. Their farm employee would probably be hauling grain to the terminal in town, I thought. Maybe canola?

I’ve seen a lot of stories on Twitter about spoiled canola lately. That would be a pretty realistic complication, I thought. Not exactly “fun,” but realistic.

I like to add some details, so I asked my husband what a bin of heated canola might smell like. He wasn’t sure. We haven’t had heated canola on our farm for years. I was left to search Google for some photos, but since we still don’t have Smellavision, I couldn’t get a feel for the smell.

I’m sure you can see where this is going.

The very next day my real-life husband had a call from our real-life trucker. Sure enough. Heated canola. Now, unfortunately, I have a pretty good idea what it smells like, what it looks like, and what kind of language farmers might use when they hear they have it.

For the next issue of Country Guide, the Hansons are going to be winning the lottery. I can always hope.

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