The month of October saw some slight movement in propane prices, both up and down. However, in general, the price stayed pretty much level for the month. November outlook? Where is the crystal ball when you need it? I have no inkling of expected price movement for the month ahead. With so many factors in play on the world stage like carbon tax issues in Canada, tensions in the United States on many fronts, issues with Turkey and Saudi Arabia, the Brexit debate in the UK, and the trade and tariff tensions between China and the United States. Any or all of these things can affect world oil prices, which in turn affects propane and other commodities. Now might be a good time to say a prayer for calm and common sense from our world leaders.
Lets get off this topic, it’s such a downer! As I sit here putting this newsletter together, it’s late in the evening and late in October. My office is very well lit and the cluster flies are dropping on my note pad, in my hair, into my coffee cup (which is filled with pens and markers) and are generally a nuisance. Those of us that live in the country, and especially those close to farming operations, know how annoying the cluster flies can be. Cluster flies look like a house fly, and they breed in the soil (according to the Orkin pest control people). Should we have a wet summer, or at least stretches of wet summer weather, these flies multiply rapidly. I’m sure nature intended them to be available to feed frogs, bats, birds, and anything else that eats flies. We, at least some of us, see these creatures show up in large numbers in the fall when they are looking to get into some kind of dry shelter. They can squeeze through the tightest little crack in the window frame, and then present themselves all over everything until the weather freezes up. You can sometimes see them in large clusters around windows, or lying on the top side of your fluorescent light diffusers (like in my office). In cold weather they appear dead, but if you get a warm sunny day in January or February, that same window comes alive with those darn flies. They were especially bad last fall, and I had Orkin pest control come in and spray some agent that kills them. Probably vacuumed up 10,000 flies last fall. This year I put up a blue fluorescent light near the ceiling in the corner where my office is. This attracts the flies, and when they land on a piece of cardboard at the base of the light, they stick to it and can’t fly away. Seems to work pretty good, but I’m going through a lot of these cardboard pieces. Looks to me each cardboard card holes about four hundred flies. So now I have all the flies in my corner, slowly killing them off. Good thing is, they are all attracted to my corner and not bugging the other staff members. Talk about taking one for the team!
As the days and weeks go by, if some topic or event pops up, I might make a note to use it as newsletter material. Right now, my note pad has eleven topics on it. I need to pick a few, because I can only make the newsletter so long, that way it will fit on a maximum two 8.5”x11” sheets of paper, double sided, for those customers whom I mail the newsletter to, otherwise postage is just a brute.
The bird people from Long Point were at the farm again this summer, catching the barn swallows. They caught and recorded health and weights of the birds, noted those that were already banded, and banded a new bunch that they hadn’t previously caught. The birds are all released unharmed. The study shows overall swallow health, and birds that came back to our barn from last year. We had about two hundred swallows after the new crop of young took flight.
In late September, my sweetheart and I on a warm sunny day took the paddleboat out on our little lake to catch a little sun and enjoy the warmth. We also took our fishing poles. The fish were biting. We caught about one hundred Largemouth Black Bass (catch and release). Mostly small fish, with the biggest weighing in at about two and a half pounds. The big fish tend to stay down deep on a bright sunny day, but will move into shallower water near shore when the sun goes down, to feed on frogs, bugs, and anything else that gets within reach. Not a bad way to spend a sunny afternoon, listening to the Red-winged Blackbirds singing, fish jumping, and watching the swallows skimming the water for insects. Not to mention the back and forth that goes between two fisher folk that have been fishing together for a very long time. I recall hearing from my fishing companion on more than one occasion “it’s all in the wrist action” when she hooked another fish at times when I was having trouble doing the same. Quite a fun afternoon.
A couple of weekends ago, my sweetheart and I, along with friends of ours from Thornbury, participated in an event called the ‘Race to Erase’. It was an Amazing Race style competition around Cambridge. Funds raised went to various organizations around Cambridge, and each team could designate whatever money they raised to one of these charities. The money we raised went to the Coping Centre, which is a privately run support group that councils people on their bereavement. Well, my sweetheart asked me sometime ago about this event, and I thought it was strictly run by and for the Coping Centre as a fund raiser. Just before the race day, I find out there are sixty-one teams entered. Whoa. On race day, we find out there are fourteen challenges set out in various locations around the city, and all the directions are pre-programmed for each team on their smartphone. The timing of each event per team was also accomplished on your smartphone. Thank goodness we had those on our team that could navigate this device, because it certainly wasn’t me. All teams started off from the Royal Canadian Legion in Hespeler on Saturday morning, for what turned out to be about four hours of navigating around Cambridge and completing those various challenges. I had pictured a mostly locally based representation of teams. Not so! There were teams from Brantford, Grimsby, Stoney Creek, Hamilton, Cambridge, and Guelph, just to mention some I was aware of. All the teams had loaded onto their phones the order and location of challenges. This kept participation at challenges to a manageable number of teams. All these teams dressed up in various costumes, some pretty wild with creative and outrageous names. My sweetheart’s team, wearing red t-shirts with a white heart that had a number four in the middle, was called aptly The Four Hearts. Now, this name was derived from the card game Bridge. In that game, you bid for position based on your cards, and the suits are clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades, and no trump. We were originally going to call ourselves Seven No Trump. After discussing this choice, and with the goings-on South of the border, we didn’t want to be confused for or seen as associated with President Trump. So, Four Hearts it was.
Our first challenge was at Dickson Park. This event was organized and manned by a fitness club called Proactive Training from Cambridge. Here’s the drill, we flip a six foot tractor tire end over end for one hundred feet across the lawn. Once the tire has cleared the finish line, the team members do twenty squats, twenty push-ups, and twenty jumping jacks, then hold hands and run back the one hundred feet we just flipped the tire through. Your time starts when you start to flip the tire, and ends when you cross the start line holding hands on the run back. Sounds simple enough, right? This team, Four Hearts, consisted of two couples. One, a sixty year old construction site supervisor, and his lovely fifty nine year old wife, who is an ordained minister from Thornbury. Now, this couple have a farming background, but that was when they were young. The other couple consisted of my sixty eight year old sweetheart and her sweetheart (I hope), that being me, who is a couple of years older than she is. Now, my sweetheart has had a year with some health problems and back issues, so I suggested to her at the start to let me do the majority of the tire lift and flip, because we didn’t want to have our first challenge be our last. So, in pairs, my sweetheart and I, then Ron and Peggy, took turns flipping the tire down the course. After this event, getting into the truck there was a fair bit of panting when Ron says “I sure hope the rest of the challenges are easier than this one”. Poor guy was complaining about his sore legs as the day progressed. This newsletter is getting a little long so I will write about some of the other challenges in the next newsletter. I think they call that a cliffhanger.
As mentioned, my sweetheart had some health issues this past year, and when the grandchildren asked her what she was going to do for Halloween, she initially said she didn’t think she would do much this year. Well, as the day crept closer, I saw bags of candy show up, then yesterday I see a Halloween scene starting to take shape out under the spruce tree by the sunroom. Looks like Halloween is ‘on’ again this year. I think I’ll go and find a copy of The Monster Mash, just to get my toes tapping.
Don’t eat too much candy, whatever too much is.
Thanks again, I sincerely appreciate your support.