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Reporter's Notebook: Lisa Guenther starts out the new year by giving Grainews readers what they want

You probably saw a copy of this Grainews marketing brochure in your mailbox.

I’ve decided to start out the New Year by writing at least one Grainews column that is focused on what readers want, rather than whatever is rattling around inside my head. Based on subscriber feedback and our own marketing material, it seems our readers want advice on everything from dealing with gossip to making easy money. And recipes.

So here is everything you ever wanted in a Grainews column.

Year of the pulses and recipes to match

This year, pulses have stepped into the spotlight, as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses. Pulse Canada is holding over 20 events across the country this year to educate people about the benefits of eating pulses. For more on the International Year of Pulses, visit

Personally, I’m a huge fan of chickpeas. I throw them into a tomato-based stew that I make in the slow-cooker. I turn them into hummus.

But I really like to roast them. After rinsing them, I coat them with canola oil. Then I add some curry and minced garlic, to taste. You can use other spices if you don’t like curry. I bake them at 400 F for 10 minutes, stir them, then bake them for another 10 minutes. If you want them crispier, you can keep baking them. There are many, many more recipes at

So thank you farmers for growing all those pulses. I hope you find something in this issue to help you bump your yield or deal with the production problems you see on your farm.

Now on to other things that we are supposed to cover in Grainews.

The secrets of “lazy” millionaires

I thought about calling up a certain tow-headed American politician for this one, but I figured he’d tell me to start by inheriting a bunch of money from my father. That didn’t seem helpful.

I’m guessing this probably has something to do with smart investing, rather than avoiding work. But if I ever find a money tree, I’ll let you know my secret for only 10 weekly payments of $19.99…

How to deal with gossip at the coffee shop

Fire back on Facebook.

Just kidding.

Usually it’s best to ignore it. But if, for example, your neighbour is rude enough to say something malicious to your spouse about you, I think you’re perfectly justified in giving him the hairy eyeball the next time you see him at the Co-op. If you can arch one eyebrow, that will work even better.

How to create your dream shop

Talk to Scott Garvey. (Grainews machinery editor)

What to do when it doesn’t rain or won’t quit raining

That would be a good time to learn all about Charles Hatfleld, rainmaker. Or “rain enhancer.”

In 1915, San Diego commissioned him to break a dry spell and fill the city’s reservoir. Hatfield got to work, building a tower and mixing chemicals. Soon, it began to rain. The reservoir brimmed with water. One dam failed, and the flood devastated people living downstream. San Diego itself flooded.

People threatened to lynch Hatfield, and the only way the city would pay him would be if he agreed to accept responsibility for the flood damage. Lawsuits were already in the works, so Hatfield decided to pass on payment.

I learned about Hatfield through a podcast called Snap Judgement. It was near the end of Episode #525, if you’re interested. There’s also tonnes of information about him online.

I don’t know of any modern-day rainmakers, or rain stoppers, for that matter. So I have very little practical advice.

But if your father has noticed that all the neighbours have had more favourable weather, don’t joke about his place being cursed.

How to get a new tractor without getting divorced

Talk to your spouse before you buy.

Crazy mods to your trucks, snowmobile, tractor and more

Where to even start with this one? The first thing that popped into my head was “Apocalypse Skidoo,” these funny cartoons drawn by a young local. I wonder if he would be insulted that I found “Apocalypse Skidoo” funny. Maybe it’s supposed to be rad. Or crazy-rad.

The second thing about this category is that it’s missing ice-fishing shacks. We should be featuring crazy mods to old campers and whatever else you use for ice fishing. Some people are really into ice fishing, and upgrading their shacks. And many of them are of the farmer persuasion.

I think there’s a lot more to be done in this whole area.

This article first appeared in the January 19, 2016 issue of Grainews

About the author

Field Editor

Lisa Guenther

Lisa Guenther is field editor for Grainews based at Livelong, Sask. You can follow her on Twitter @LtoG.



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