Monday November 24, 2014

Enjoying nature


The idea of agriculture needing to be responsible to nature is hardly a new concept.

Itís one which has been a theme in this space before, and for the most part something farmers are aware of, even if the need to achieve some level of profitability makes it hard to see from the side of the road.

Farmers have determined profits only come from productive acres, and so bluffs and sloughs which are idle in terms of production are often the target of the dozer blade and plow.

Even hedgerows and shelter-belts planted by an earlier generation to slow winds are being torn out because their usefulness has become somewhat obsolete.

A shelter-belt had two primary purposes when planted. One it slowed wind and thus lessened the impact of soil erosion on a field, and two it often acted as a snow-fence to help protect grid roads from winter drifting.

Erosion is less of an issue now since farmers have almost all converted to at least minimum tillage systems, and most employ zero-tillage which leaves sufficient trash cover to deal with wind.

Roads are built higher, and grading equipment much better today than a half century ago, so the need to have snow-fence is gone too.

So farmers have knocked down a lot of trees and drained a lot of wetlands in recent years and while it is understandable from an economics point of view, it remains unfortunate.

Nature is something which is amazing when you take the time to just sit back and enjoy what it has to offer.

Often in our busy world, jobs seem to demand our attention almost constantly, as do families, and volunteer efforts.

Our cell phones and laptops seem to be a tether to an electronic world too.

So connecting to nature is sometimes something which gets lost in the hustle and bustle which swirls around us.

In my case I have been lucky the last couple of weeks, having a few days off, I made good use of them taking the opportunity to get in some fishing.

The first jaunt was the Cutarm Creek south of Churchbridge.

The fishing spot is great, and not just because of the hungry perch.

You canít go wrong on a warm May evening watching ducks landing and taking off from the water, or hearing a pair of Canada geese as they fly low overhead, or see a muskrat out for a swim, or a whitetail in the grass. Such sights have a way of making you realize Twitter and Facebook and the World Wide Web are not everything, that we donít have to watch National Hockey League playoffs in May, and that we really are not indentured to our jobs.

It was more of the same Motherís Day at the Canora Dam. I saw more fish jump, even if they were mostly suckers, than I ever have before, and I am now 52. It is a day I will never forget, as the water swirled in a foamy torrent, and the fish jumped, and oh yes I limited out on pike and pickerel which helped too.

But the full stringer notwithstanding, a day close to nature beats a lot of things we do in our lives and we all ó farmers and non-farmers ó need to do what we can to sustain what is an ever dwindling natural world, if we want our grandchildren and generations beyond that to experience the joy of a simple day with nature.



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