Make love, not war


After a week in the Fort Myers, Florida, area, Dana and I can see why so many people like to go

south. We had seven days of sunshine and 80 degree weather.

The most interesting thing we did while away was tour the ECHO (Educational Concerns for

Hunger Organization) Global Demonstration Farm in Fort Myers.

Agricultural workers from around the world write ECHO with questions about what crops to

plant in their regions, how to deal with problems like erosion, drought and pest control.

The farm has plants from around the world as workers at the farm try experiments to improve

crop yields and find solutions to problems people face in the Third World.

For example, people in slums have no place to grow food and no place to find soil. The solution -

put containers on roof tops and fill them mainly with discarded aluminum cans. That way the

containers are light enough to put on the roof of your shanty. It works - without the use of


It was an interesting tour. You learn how banana and rice crops have been improved, how to

keep elephants out of your garden, about a tree whose ground up leaves are full of the major

nutrients needed to sustain life.

I knew about the farm because Dave and Miriam Barrie of Kincardine have spent a few winters

working there. Unfortunately, they weren't there the day we were on tour so we didn't get to see


ECHO is a non-profit, inter-denominational Christian organization. Its demonstration farm

allows ECHO to provide options for missionaries and agricultural workers in 180 countries.


On another note, Americans are often slammed for knowing little about the rest of the world.

Don't blame them - blame their media. The local daily has lots of state and local news, but not

much about the rest of the world. Canada was mentioned once while we were away - the fact that

eight B.C. men died in an avalanche.

The television news is even worse. The weather map ends at the U.S. border and the news is not

memorable. From what I've heard of the weather here while we were gone, maybe it's a good

thing we didn't hear any news from around here.)

Anyway, we're fortunate to have the CBC, CTV and the Toronto newspapers.

The Fort Myers paper was still of interest. One columnist started his piece by telling about a CIA

operative in Afghanistan who gave a warlord with four wives four Viagra pills.

When the CIA operative returned a few days later, the warlord was all smiles and provided all

kinds of information about the movements of the Taliban in his area. Then the warlord asked for

some more pills.

Perhaps that's the solution to our political problems in Ottawa. Put Viagra in the Parliament Hill

water supply. Prime minister Stephen Harper might not be nearly as nasty and former Liberal

leader Stephan Dion might calm right down if they had more urgent matters on their minds. Can

you picture the lads on Parliament Hill making love rather than war?

Neither can I. So I won't speculate on the effect the drug might have on Kincardine politicians.

It was also interesting to see that the Fort Myers area has a Polar Bear Club which was planning

its ninth annual dip on New Year's Day. Aren't they the bold bunch? It has been a few years

since we had those New Year's Day swims in the Kincardine harbour

Despite the cold blustery weather New Year's Eve, it was good to arrive back in Kincardine and

see the end of the Canada - U.S.A. World Junior tournament game. If you lived in Florida,

you wouldn't even know it was being played or that the U.S. has a very good team.

May your New Year be a good one.


Dana and I were sorry to hear of the passing of Norma Dunsmoor while we were away. Dana

grew up four doors away from the Dunsmoors. Norma always looked on the bright side and her

cheery disposition will be missed.


If you think there was a lot of precipitation in December, you are correct.

According to Environment Canada, total precipitation records were established for the month in Elliot Lake, North Bay, Sudbury and Wiarton, which is the closest station to us. Wiarton had 193.9 millimetres of precipitation in December; the previous record was 186.9 mm set in 1949.

Wiarton had 1269.9 mm of precipitation (50.8 inches) in total in 2008; the old record was 1203.5 mm set in 2003.