Wednesday, June 12, 2024
Chris Judd

Week four and still learning

Easter is just over but not many wanted to dress up. It used to be a treat to go to church Easter Sunday and see the ladies all dressed up to celebrate the start of another season. As most of us are Christians and gather to celebrate the rising of our Lord, going to church on Easter was a reminder of something better to come.
This year we sure need a reminder like that. Then there was the gathering of the clan for an Easter feast, the Easter egg hunt, phone calls to and from friends, and for farmers it often meant new baby calves, pigs, kittens or various other new Easter surprises when you went to the barn. This year the ladies weren’t gussied up as much and the ministers were still getting used to preaching to a cell phone video, recording in an empty church. Our spiritual leaders are busier than ever checking on parishioners, some who are struggling with increased isolation, financial burdens and more frequent mental instability.
Our Easter feast was lovingly delivered to our door at home by our grandchildren. A lot different this year because they stood on the porch and wished us a Happy Easter through an open door. Our Easter meal was a feast prepared by our loving family. They then went off to wish Happy Easter to their other grandparents before going home to have their own Easter meal after the milking was done. We still exchanged phone calls and emails from friends and enjoyed a host of excellent music sent out on Facebook by very talented friends.
As we ate our Easter feast I thought of the thousands of less fortunate than us who had little or nothing to eat. This is extremely difficult for a farmer who had to dump milk, plow down thousands of acres of vegetables, shoot an animal behind the barn or throw out eggs because our delivery system was broken. I was also reminded that 30 per cent of the food in our world is wasted. Now most of us eat at home and don’t waste food. We are reminded that there is no shortage of food in the world, we just need to adjust our delivery system. All this is adding to farmers stress and mental fatigue. Police officers are seeing an increase in domestic violence which is another signal of increased stress.
Farmer’s wives are relearning skills that our grandmothers couldn’t teach us. When dairy farmers had to tighten up quotas and dump milk, wives began experimenting: making cheese, yogurt, ice cream, frozen yogurt, homemade chocolates, butter and any baking that used milk. We discovered that our wives were even better cooks than we thought. Homemade chocolate Easter eggs filled with homemade gooey centres are just awesome. Homemade biscuits and jam are to die for. Homemade donuts put Timmies to shame.
Our farmers have just begun to encounter the problems of specialized shopping for farm related repairs. Some farmers at the upper end of our county have received notice from their Ontario fuel supplier that the fuel truck will no longer be coming to Quebec because of hassle at the provincial border. Many equipment dealers now only take parts orders by phone or email and set parts out or put them in the farmer’s truck. Because this COVID-19 problem is world-wide, with employees sick and plants being shut down, sometimes parts may be unavailable for an indefinite time.
Some farmers are having problems finding sale for animals. Some meat plants are operating with reduced staff or shut completely because of sick or scared still not at work. Because many restaurants are only doing take-out or closed completely, meat, milk, bread and many other food stuffs are backing up and filling warehouses. Meat animals don’t stop growing, dairy cows don’t slow down on milk production and hens don’t quit laying. Consumers must be congratulated for their commitment to buying local Canadian food. Grocery clerks, store owners and all others who work in the food chain must be congratulated for their patience and acceptance to change in the chaotic time.
As we watch some of our southern neighbours attending an open church for Easter, we wonder why we are self-isolating? When we hear of a friend who is battling this virus or read of another friend’s parent dying from COVID-19, we thank the Lord and our leaders for our health and happily sit on the couch a little longer.