Friday, August 29, 2008

Dead animals

Most events that occur in Canada seem to stay here, and the rest of the world doesn’t know about it. But the recent food scare has probably leaked out into other countries. I won’t go into any details – you can read all about it here:listeria, cheese

This of course isn’t the first time that we’ve had a recall of some food product. Probably won’t be the last. However, the thing that really bothers me is that in this huge country, we have only ONE plant that processes meat products for all of us? This especially irks me living in the west – the land where we raise all that beef and have huge hog farms. Why do we ship all those animals to some plant in Toronto, where they do who knows what to it, and then they ship it back to us (at inflated prices)? Do we not know how to process our own animals here? Do we not have any meat plants here? Is fuel so cheap that it’s more cost efficient to ship all our produce all the way across the country, pollute it, and ship it back? I don’t understand it.

The release of this latest calamity also brought to light the fact that the same plant puts out a wide variety of products. When you were convinced that Brand A was so much better than Brand B, you finally realize it comes from the very same plant, is the very same product, only the packaging is different. I heard this many long years ago, when I learned that my favourite tomato soup was made in the same assembly line as the cheaper store brand soup. So we pay more for the label? Now we learn that those advertising campaigns telling us that this particular product is carefully selected, slow smoked, proudly presented -- it was all false. It all comes out of the same vat as that cheap no-name product!

This one event has again reinforced my opinion that we shouldn’t adulterate our food. What was wrong with just have plain ordinary meat? Why do we have to mash, pound, dye, mix all sort of alien products into it, and then package it in neat little slices and expect anyone to actually get any nourishment from it? It’s as far removed from real meat as is the “bread” you find in the stores. Do they really think they are fooling anyone? Probably are, considering that most of the population has never seen real bread or real beef. I pity them.

All this fuss and bother over a variety of contaminated meat products sure makes me glad that I am a vegetarian. I always believed there was a good reason why I was drawn away from animal products, and every time there is another recall of processed foodstuffs, I am thankful that I have no need for pieces of dead animals in my diet.

Now, if only I can find a little patch of earth in which to grow a few vegetables.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It's gone!

I'm home.

Where was I? I went back home about a month ago now. "Home" is a funny word. It means different things, depending on how you use it.

The house that I grew up in was sold long, long ago. Mom and Dad build a new house, much larger now that we all had left home, in a little village several miles away. I've never gone back to that old place. And I don't want to.

But this year, finally, Mom sold that house. It was just too large for her, by herself, and there was a lot of work in maintaining it. She just couldn't manage it. But it's in a little village, with nothing really happening there, and it was hard to sell. She had lowered her price a lot, but eventually, when she doubled it, she had someone take interest, and sold it. She had an auction sale to sell off everything she couldn't take with her, and she moved away.

So now, there really is not "home" over there. We all used to go to Mom's house at Christmas and in summer, saying it was home, but I never really grew up there. And now I don't even have that anymore either. So I don't know where "home" is. I've lived in this city for over 25 years but I don't think of it as home. It's a place for me to stay until I determine where I want to go next. I'm still thinking. For now, "home" will be where Mom is living.

But this summer, we held another of our family reunions. Mom comes from a very large family, and when we include all the distant relatives, there are a whole bunch more. My great-grandparents arrived in this country with 5 children, and one was born here. From that small beginning, we have spread all over Canada, and into the States as well. But every now and then, on an irregular basis, we gather together to celebrate our ancestors, and to re-acquaint ourselves with each other.

This was a fun weekend. Relatives came all the way from Vancouver to Ontario. I really wanted to see my distant cousin (couple times removed, I dunno) from Nova Scotia, but she wasn't able to make it. It was so good to see cousins I haven't seen for years. Some have gotten so much grey hair! And also to meet their grown children which I have never met yet at all. We don't get together that often, apparently! I haven't been to a family wedding for a long time.

One of the things we wanted to do this year was to hold an auction of some of our handmade items. Many of us are very handy with our hands, making all sorts of things. There was such a nice collection of quilts, and blankets, and glass dishes, and jams and jellys. I wanted to do some spinning (no question there) since my grandmother was a spinner (wool and hemp on a spindle). I wanted to honour her very short life. But I couldn't just put in a skein of yarn, so I had to knit something, although she was also a weaver. This had to be something special, not too complicated, but had to look very intricate! I searched for a long time, and eventually found a lace that I liked, and it was a very easy knit. I was rather pleased with it. (see my earlier post about the whole story)

Well, my cousin from just south of my city won it! There were a lot of very sad faces. A couple of my aunts really wanted it, and so did some of my cousins, and my neices. I'm sorry I only made one! Here is a pic of my cousin Sharon showing off her new shawl:
I have plans to make a few more for my dear aunts. They are a very special bunch of women, and I love them dearly. But my mother had 8 sisters, so there are quite a few of them! Not to mention all my cousins, and my neices. So I have a bit of work ahead of me. I better not say anything more, just in case I tempt fate!

In the meantime, I'm spinning more of that blue. It's taking a very long time to fill up one bobbin, and I can't spin for very long because of my back. But a little every day makes me feel a bit more normal.