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Cabin Fever
By Tim Reid

abin fever is just around the corner now.

This is where the seed companies have you right by the short and curlies, folks!  Right when you're tromping your way out to the barn to do chores is when visions of gardening and spring pop into mind.  When you are hip deep in snow and it's -30 it's not hard to picture planting time with warm sun on your shoulders.  Birds are singing and wild flowers are poking their heads up to greet the warm spring sun!

Well, wake up and smell the compost, people!  There is a reason why your seed catalogues come to you this early.  They know you are in the middle of a crisis.  They hit you at your most vulnerable time:  winter!

This is when a normally sane person goes a bit crazy ordering seeds.  They plan what they assume will be a nice garden only to later realize, when their seeds arrive, that they are going to have to expand the garden an acre or so just to fit them all in!  These companies come out with several new varieties of plants every year.  Resist the urge to try them all at once.  If they are any good they will be there next year.  Ask yourself if you really need the new variety of blue potatoes or the latest Japanese popcorn.

A rule of thumb is when you finish your list sit down with your significant other and cut your list in half.  Go over it again then cut it in half, too.  This will prevent frantic rearranging in the garden come spring and having to ask yourself if you were on some form of cheap drugs when you placed your seed order!  Nothing, and I mean nothing, is more frustrating than standing there with the urge to plant several packages of seeds and having no place to put them.

Well folks, I'm introducing new segments to my column.  The first will be the Raspberry Award.  This will be granted to the ass of the week!  The second is the Farmer's Salute and it will go to those people who have done a stand-up job in their community.

Please feel free to nominate anyone for either award.  Also, if you have a pet peeve you would like to air, like the dusty quilt in the attic, let me know!

Awards This Week

This week's Raspberry Award goes to Lowell Green, host of a talk show on radio station CFRA.

Mr. Green:

You think the U.S.A is so wonderful and tax-fair?  Do us all a favour and MOVE there!  Your verbal flatulence mixes well with the likes of Anita Bryant, Roach Limba, and Gerry Falwell.  You represent a threat to equality for all!  I, for one, signed into our forces to defend your right to be the odious windbag you are!  Did you?  If you did, you wouldn't be so cavalier with peoples' rights.  Those who can, do.  Those who can't, talk about it

One of these days, Lowell, I look forward to seeing you're karma run over your dogma!!  Canada:  love it or leave it.

This week's Farmer's Salute goes to Lt. Col. Joe Brebant (retired).  A man truly outstanding in his field.  Sir, you are a credit to humanity.

Question

This week's question comes from Sandra in Buckhorn.

Dear Tim:

Last year my lover and I decided to raise our own turkeys for Thanksgiving.  We split our order with one of our neighbours and ended up with six pults.  We had the right litter and the proper food and the brooder lamp was at the correct temperature, yet we lost all but one.  We chose the Nicholas White variety and were wondering if it was a bad batch or what we did wrong.

Dear Sandra:

Well, in their zest to create the perfect bird sacrifices have been made!  One of the bad points of a Nicholas is THEY ARE AS DUMB AS A POST!  They have to be taught how to eat. The one natural trait they still have, though, is sharp eyesight.  What you do is put shiny round objects like marbles or large rhinestones in with their starter.  Anything smooth that shines - right into the food!  They will pick at these objects and bounce their beaks off them.  This is a sure-fire way to prevent the problem from happening again.  You also may want to put 2 tablespoons of molasses in their first drinking water.  This is an organic way of giving them the trace minerals they need for a good start.  After one week take the objects out.  Dumb as they are, they have the idea by then!

Tim Reid is Ex- Canadian Navy and lives with his spouse on a small mixed farm in Hastings County.  He may be contacted at aggot@columnist.com or by letter mail at RR2 Gilmour, Ontario, Canada.  KOL 1W0.