My Brothers

Today I am remembering a project that I worked on with my two youngest brothers; I am the eldest of six. We were involved with digging a trench and installing a drainage pipe for an ancient septic system. None of us had ever tackled such an “aged” project before. We all had our own unique technical knowledge, gained from other projects we had been involved with over the years. We all had some transferable skills to offer the project.

What struck me most was my brothers’ mode of interaction. We listened to each other respectfully, considering each concept presented. What a pleasure, a deep pleasure, it was to interact with these two men as a member of a team. It is not often males have the personal confidence to allow egalitarian female participation. I think our parents did something very right by us.

Older people have a lot of something that is really, really important to the human species. Experience. There are different kinds of experience. One can, for instance, gain experience through experimentation; experience that is isolated in time and space. The experience that older people have though, is a richer kind of experience, because it is cumulative, based on generations of experimentation and practice. This kind of experience is invaluable. This kind of experience cannot be gained in a classroom, it has to be developed “in situ”, over generations.

My Grandparents were the source of all wisdom in the world where I grew up. I adored them. I admired them. I respected them. I wanted to spend as much time with them as I could manage. Luckily, through the 1970s, I lived within driving distance of their home. I visited them several times a week, and always came away feeling enriched. I had a close and loving relationship with my Grandmother, who never spoke a harsh word about anyone, and tolerated no “nonsense”. Our time was spent being together; I helped with whatever my Grandmother was doing. We spent time together, in her world.

When my Grandmother passed away it shook my world. I continued to visit my Grandfather several times a week, spending time, helping with whatever he was doing at the time, in his world.

I still long for the company of my Grandparents, always will I suppose.

I learned a lot from my Grandparents, things I could never have discovered through my own experiences or education. It wasn’t just how to bake bread, or how to keep a fire in a wood stove. There is much to life (and survival) beyond the physical. I learned that love and respect are vital to peace of mind and healthy living.

Through my many years I have built on the cumulative experience that was shared, mixing in bits and bobs from my formal “education”, BA, Hon BA, MA, PhD, and marrying it to that cumulative experience whenever I could.

It has been heartbreaking to watch information become a cheap commodity on the internet. To find that self-proclaimed experts abound, and that the difference between self-promotion and knowledge is not recognized by a lot of people.

“Respect your elders” has come to have very little meaning in today’s world. That is the basis for social breakdown, when humans cease to recognize the value of cumulative experiential knowledge, passed down through connected generations; it is the DIVIDE AND CONQUER of the information age.

For example, in Nunavut people are primarily dependent on imported foods, and have lost the ability to sustain life on local resources. Their survival skills are all but lost to them. A whole history of cumulative experience exterminated in one generation.

The Changing Food Economy in Nunavut: Will Country Food Stores Secure Nunavut’s Food Supply?

Nunavut Food Protest: Inuit Organize Widespread Protest Over Hunger And Food Costs

When young people gain knowledge, support, and experience from older people it has to work both ways, benefits must be available to all parties involved in an equitable exchange. “Mining” older people’s knowledge, resources, and experience without reciprocity degrades the quality of the exchange, inhibits flexibility and balance.

I suspect that if you are reading my journal, you have already considered all of these points, and more. Thanks for listening!

Worldly Distractions


-1 °C
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 102.9 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -1.0°C
Dewpoint: -1.7°C
Humidity: 95 %
Wind: NW 5 km/h


“There is absolutely no inevitability as long as there is a willingness to contemplate what is happening.”
Marshall McLuhan
1911 – 1980

Take Two

I just deleted a very, very lengthy entry! After taking a break from it I decided that nothing I was writing about needed to be said or read, delete!

Last week Attila had his flue shot at a public health clinic. I go to the family physician to ensure the non-medicinal ingredients do not include my allergen. So far, so good. One never knows when things will change. My appointment was onf Friday and while I was at the family physician’s I also received my first pneumonia inoculation. The tiredness and soreness in my arm remain, but I can easily live with this slight discomfort. I did find though that over the weekend I felt cranky from time to time, and I was aware of it. I hope I kept that well away from other people, I think I succeeded, with the exception of one little terse conversation with Attila, who wasn’t being all sugar and honey himself at the time.

We made a whirlwind trip to our little house in the city. On Saturday we arrived, cooked and ate a box of Kraft Dinner (poorly planned that one!) and headed out to Terra and Lares new house. They moved on Saturday and by the time we arrived all the lifting and toting had been done. Their house was full of jolly people, all of whom had helped with the move, except us of course.

The house does need a lot of work. What an adventure it will be, slowly nursing this century home back into good health. It is large and beautiful; well worth the effort to bring it back.

Luna and Janus travelled a long distance to help with the move, and the whole family came, Imp and Elf and Tink. Well almost the whole family, the dogs Benny and Bim were left with the in-laws and Soot the cat was left in peace at home.

It was wonderful to see the Grandbabies. They have grown a lot and are such characters. They are all so different from one another and we enjoy and love each personality. They spent a lot of time playing in the “exercise room”, an office in a separate building which was carpeted. They played happily in there for hours and we could see them through the window and could keep an eye on them.

Since we could not help with the actual move, we contributed otherwise. Attila build two extremely strong saw horses for Lares, and I prepared breakfast for the crowd that stayed overnight till Sunday, after the hectic Saturday move. My first priority was to prepare toast and peanut butter for the Grandbabies. After they had all they wanted to eat, I prepared toast and sausages and eggs for the rest. I also kept a sink full of dishwater and washed and dried the dirty dishes as they were piled by the sink. By the time everyone had eaten the dishes were done and the kitchen cleaned up; ready for the sanding and painting job which is next on Terra’s list.

Then it was back to the little house to wash up the dishes there and get things shut down and locked up until the next visit.

The drive home was beautiful. So much colour, even without autumn leaves! Bright sunshine is a balm.

Today I am making more applesauce for freezing and baking a cranberry-apple crisp for breakfast and snacks later in the week. I’ve been offered a few more hours work in the coming weeks, so I will be busy.

Standing at the window this afternoon I spotted what could be a lone coyote trotting down the road in front of the house, head lowered, glancing back over its shoulder. A little later I saw him running out our driveway, he had obviously been in our back yard. The tail seemed a little too long for a coyote, but it was very large and certainly did not resemble any of the Red Foxes that I have seen trotting by in the past. I have my camera out and ready now in case it passes this way again, then perhaps the species can be identified with a photograph.

Worldly Distractions


7 °C
Date: 3:00 PM EST Monday 19 November 2012
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.7 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 6.7°C
Dewpoint: 1.4°C
Humidity: 69 %


“It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them.”
Mark Twain
1835 – 1910
Long live the imprudent, say I!!!