• About Farm School

    "There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live."
    James Adams, from his essay "To 'Be' or to 'Do': A Note on American Education", 1929

    We're a Canadian family of five, farming, home schooling, and building our own house. I'm nowhere near as regular a blogger as I used to be.

    The kids are 18/Grade 12, 16/Grade 11, and 14/Grade 10.

    Contact me at becky(dot)farmschool(at)gmail(dot)com

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Call me piggish

and cynical, but I was interested to watch as the public health and news gathering organizations seemed rather deflated at the end of this week as their best efforts to whip up panic — working very well (especially as far my eight-year-old is concerned) — seemed at odds with the fact that the swine flu just hadn’t been the pandemic they were hoping for.  After all, nothing sells like bad news. And what a grand distraction from our financial woes; and I suppose stockpiling face masks and hand sanitizer helps the economy.

But now, with the news that a herd of pigs in this very province apparently contracted swine flu from a human, everyone is reinflated and happy again.  More cynically perhaps, I wonder if all this panic now is setting us up for a case of “the boy who cried swine” when the real pandemic strikes.  And most Canadians will remember that less than a year ago pigs and pig parts were much more deadly as part of the listeria outbreak in deli meats that killed 22 people last summer.

In the meantime, I’m doing my darndest to keep everyone here distracted from the fear-mongering.  Fortunately, we’re in our busy farming season, with fields to cultivate, baby chicks arriving in a few days, an incubator of duck eggs humming away in the basement (the Pekin and Rouen eggs were a present from our neighbor), a filly with an eye infection to treat, the first of six or so expected litters of kitten here, and 4H calves to ready for achievement day at the end of the month.  And the youngest, who has been the most disconcerted by the news, has discovered the joy of Allan Sherman, who makes for much better listening right about now.  In heavy rotation now are “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah”, “Good Advice”, and “You Went the Wrong Way, Old King Louie”.  Highly recommended even if you aren’t suffering the effects of swine flu fatigue.

3 Responses

  1. Panic in the Streets of London…:)

    Enjoyed this and your “all over this land…” post!


  2. I’ve been ranting in my head. But there seems to be a distinct lack of basic scientific understanding.

    1) how influenza spreads (if I hear one more reporter ask if it is safe to eat pork I’m going to have to strangle someone)

    2) Basic evolutionary theory (yes, viruses mutate and evolve, and their life cycle is short so it happens quickly)

    3) Basic genetics (yes, pigs and humans share well over 90% of their genetic structure. Why are we surprised we can contract the same illnesses.)

    4) the history of the control of infectious diseases (engineering in the form of sanitation systems was WAY MORE important than either vaccines or antibiotics)

    Interesting conclusions might be that if it is now considered unreasonable to house humans in overcrowded conditions with poor sanitation, why does it seem to be the norm for pigs, poultry and cattle? I know YOU know the answer.

    Okay, back to work.

  3. I wandered out to the grocer last weekend somewhat oblivious to the hysteria. I sent Mr. Magruder off to unload the grocery carriage as I ran back for the soap I had forgotten. I was met with empty shelves of soap, hand sanitizer and the like. I settled for some unheard of brand of soap (the last of perhaps three) and along the route to the checkout, noticed a sale on ice cream.

    I only understood how foolish I must have looked with my arms loaded with soap and Haagen Dazs when Mr. M began laughing at me.

    Locally, the health department has been encouraging people to stock provisions. As the youngsters say, “Now I’m good.”

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