Farm Safety

Another kid has died in a farming accident and is showing up in my newsfeed.

It seems like there have been more than the usual number of these this year, but I know that it’s probably more that I (or perhaps the national news media) have been paying attention this fall.  Farming is dangerous. It’s particularly fucking dangerous for kids.

I hate the popular commentary around these deaths.  People say “It’s just a tragic accident.  Impossible to prevent.”  or “I worked on the farm when I was a kid, and it was great.  No reason to call for more farm safety.”

I worked on the farm when I was a kid too.  And some of the stuff we did was pretty dangerous.  My parents had an age requirement participating in various farm tasks.  For some tasks, that age requirement was “never”.  I don’t remember exactly what the age requirement for driving the tractor was (Maybe my parents will weigh in here.)  But here’s the thing: that age requirement was…Not sufficient.  Sure, maybe it meant that we had enough maturity to understand the directions, to know in theory how to be safe.  But what we really needed was a minimum weight.

I have a distinct memory of being…maybe 12 or 13, and being sent to drive the tractor to the field and rake hay.  It’s a simple enough task, and I had raked hay before, but I was not heavy enough to use the brakes on the tractor at road speeds.  I just couldn’t press them down far enough fast enough and so I lost control and took out the mailbox.

The 10 year old killed this week losing control of a piece of heavy equipment…I understand how that might have happened.

These ideas about farm safety are not new.  My parents knew them, even if they did misjudge what we needed for safety.  When I was a kid we were taught in school some of the basics of farm safety.  And yet, my facebook feed is regularly filled with images of little kids on heavy farm machinery (The comments:  It’s so cute!) alongside stories of little kids being killed by heavy farm machinery (The comments: Completely impossible to prevent!)

The other comment that you sometimes see under these stories of farm accidents is that farms are such a wonderful place to raise a family, such a great lifestyle, blahblah nostaligic bullshit.  How can people say this after reading a story about kids who were killed in a farming accident?  Sometimes I think that the industrialization of farming and the disappearance of family farms can’t happen fast enough if it will prevent these stupid and completely preventable deaths.


It’s the middle of November.  Christmas is coming.  But before that, Advent is coming.


Last year, we just happened to walk into St Albans on the first Sunday of Advent and we were given this spectacular collection of little paper bags with Advent activities or treats for each day.  It was amazing.  The routine of opening a little bag every day, seeing what amazing thing was inside…It was perfect for the Trorg.

I’d really like to be able to do something similar this year, but I don’t think anyone is just going to hand me an Advent thing, so I guess I have to do it myself.  So then I get to planning.  What do I want to include?  As I count, this year I need 28 days to start on the Saturday before the first Sunday of Advent and finish with Christmas Day.

Some of this is easy.  A wreath, candles, candy, small gifts.    I can easily come up with more Christmas crafts than we need.  (Nativity set?  Tree Decorations?)  I’d like to get the Trorg involved in gift giving this year too so we can include activities where we make or purchase gifts or cards for various people.

And I’d like to include some charitable giving too.  And that’s where it gets harder.  There’s the question of which charities to support — I think I’d like at least one local and one international, but there’s just so many and it’s so complicated.  Ugh.

And then there’s the question of how to make it concrete for the Trorg.  Local charities often take stuff, but I understand that most charities prefer monetary donations.  It makes a lot of sense: my money pooled with others’ money goes an awful lot farther much more strategically than my random non-perishable food items.  But money is pretty abstract to the Trorg.  Especially when it’s just my credit-card punched into some international organisation’s website. How do I make it real?

I have a couple of ideas.  I’ll tell you about them sometime after I’ve implemented them.  If I implement them at all.


Do you remember that piece of felt I made this summer?  Here’s what it was for.

This is a project I’ve been working on about a year.  It’s the daily readings that accompany the Revised Common Lectionary.  Advent to Pentecost is in the mostly red book (the back has a bunch of brown on it, but somehow I didn’t get a picture of the backs). Ordinary Time is in the brown one.  This is Year B.  Year C is a work in progress at the moment.  [1]

Specifications and methods:

Page size is half letter, because that’s the easiest signature to make. [2]  For these I was just creating signatures by using Adobe Reader’s “booklet print” option to print off 40 pages at a time creating 10 page signatures.  Printing was done on various printers as I finished them each section.  As a result, print quality is not consistent throughout.

The booklets are punched (with some pain) in 5 places along the spine with a darning needle.  I really need to get a proper awl and cutting board, this part of the process is pretty unpleasant.

The signatures are stitched together with a variation on a Coptic chain binding that I’ve made work in this context.  (Coptic Chain, usually uses a stiff cover to attach the first and last stitches to.)

The felt is hand made, of wool from Humming Bee Farm.  It’s Corridale in Fire Red and a dark brown natural.  (I can still tell that dark natural colour hasn’t been dyed.  Even after felting, it’s much softer than the red.  I really like the soft tactile feeling of the felt covers.  [3]

The felt covers are stitched directly to the first and last signatures and then trimmed appropriately (I considered leaving the edges of the covers untrimmed, but this is rustic-looking enough [4] without the extra random fringiness).

[1] I’ve included dates through 2050.  If I’m still using these books by then…Well…I’m not actually sure they’re built to last that long.

[2] For year C, I’ll be experimenting with a smaller page size (quarter letter!).  This has required some technological upgrades (LaTex package pdfpages, run twice with the signature option) to get the signatures printed out properly.  And of course different font sizes, margins, and stuff to maintain legibility at the smaller size.  It’s also going to require the books to be just a little fatter.  I am also considering breaking into three or four volumes.

[3] What I don’t like so much is how they don’t have as much structural stability as a proper book cover should.  Next time I should figure out how to stiffen them up a little.  (Thicker felt?  Some kind of stiff mesh felted into the middle of the felt?  Felt folded over some kind of hard board?)  Or maybe think about different cover materials all together.  (Leather?  Wood?  Proper cloth covered book board?)  Depending on what I figure out, I may decide to do the Coptic stitch properly with covers and the folded edges of the signatures left bare.  Depending on what I learn, I may decide to re-print and re-bind Year B when it rolls around again in November of 2017

[4] I did not trim the signature edges and there are places where you can see just how inconsistent my folding sometimes is.  Additionally, I do not have a fancy book press or any other tools for getting my binding as tight as a professionally made book usually is.  Paging through this, you definitely notice where the signatures begin and end.

Church Search Victoria — Round 2 — Victoria Christian Reformed Church — October 18th


When my parents were visiting on the weekend, we went to the Christian Reformed Church on Sunday.  This was partially because my parents*** rented a car for their visit.  I wanted to see how I would feel about the place if distance wasn’t really a problem.

This backfired a little bit, because distance definitely is a problem.  Even from the back seat of a comfortable car, I could see that this is not really a pleasant bike ride.

And then, they didn’t even have one of their usual ministers this week.  Some guest speaker instead.  His sermon was relatively terrible.  If it had been the usual person giving that sermon**, I would definitely be saying “Well, we’re not going back there then.”  Given that it wasn’t…eh…I don’t know.

They still have a weirdly truncated feeling service.  And I don’t think it’s just that I’ve been to a lot of Anglican and Lutheran churches in the past year.

I mean…They’re fine but…

** We had:

  • Rambling, irrelevant anecdotes.
  • A characterization of the Samaritan woman at the well as promiscuous and sinful rather than marginalized.
  • A statement that respecting the church is important for evangalism and that we shouldn’t fall for people “rewriting history” by claiming that not everything done by the church has been positive. (I think this was probably a response to current critiques of the church’s role in colonialism generally and possibly residential schools specifically)
  • Loving people is required for evangalism too!  But comes way down the list below that bit about the church.  Apparently loving people means you can disagree with them and think they are terrible people who are going to hell.  It doesn’t seem to mean that they can disagree with you.
  • An approving call-out to John Piper.

***Other problem:  My parents absolutely contaminate the sample.  It’s partially because my dad’s singing voice absolutely stands out in this kind of service.  And it’s partially because of the way my parents are somehow better at inviting conversation than I am.

But observing it this time I think there might be another component.  I’m almost angry about it, but I think another part of it might be age.  Maybe it’s just that in my parents, there are more people in the congregation who see them as peers.  But it feels just as much like they decided my parents are more important.  Ugh.  There might be a whole other post here.  Not today though.

Church Search Victoria — Round One Completed (Almost)

ChurchSearchIconOK.  So we went to a lot of churches without a great deal of success.  A complete list:

There are a lot of churches in Victoria.  There are 11 on this list, and I skipped over a lot of churches because they didn’t fit with me in some way.  I’ve avoided at least half a dozen churches that only do adult Baptism and almost as many that baptise children but don’t ordain women.  I’ve also passed over one or two that I guessed to be a little too “high church” for my taste.

By contrast, in Ottawa we visited 9 churches, but we weren’t walking past nearly as many.  There were maybe half a dozen total within our range that we didn’t visit.  And for several of those it was a simple language barrier.

Part of the reason here is found in the first sentence of the previous paragraph.  In Ottawa, we were walking.  We found enough options within walking distance that was promising that we felt we could be happy with our choice at that range.  Here, walking distance doesn’t get us to any of the churches that I think are worth returning to for a second visit.  We are definitely on bicycles on Sunday mornings.

So far, there’s only two of these that I’m sure I want to return to for a second visit:  Victoria CRC, and St Philip Anglican.

There are two or three others that I might say “hm…Maybe?”:  Lutheran Church of the Cross might be one, Knox Presbyterian perhaps, maybe even St Peter’s Lakehill.  But honestly, I may be too tired to put that many in the second round.  If possible, I’d like to be finished with this search by the beginning of Advent.

Of those that are not making the second round, the reason is almost always “Demographics”.   Some of these churches are struggling pretty badly.  But on the other hand, some of them are not struggling.  They’re just overflowing with old people.

** There are two within my range that I haven’t yet visited for the first round.  One of them is way out at the edge of my feasible range and the service is early so I’m not sure it’s worth trying.  (The completionist in me says I should try it anyway.)  This one is closer and the service is later, so I will probably give it a try yet and I’ll update this post accordingly.

Off my spindle

By request, an image of the yarn most recently off my spindle:


I’ve lost the tag, but I believe that this was 2oz (about 50 g) hand dyed perendale from HummingBeeFarm.

I found the wool to be a little inconsistent.  Sometimes it would be fun and easy to spin and sometimes it just would not hold together.  There are a couple of places near the inside end of the ball where I just said “Screw it.” and tied a knot.

The yarn is 2 ply with slightly less twist in both the singles and the plying than I’d really like.

It’s about 14 wpi (so fingering weight by some charts (I’m getting conflicting information), though thickness is variable).

There are about 130-150 metres of it.

What should I do with this?  I’m thinking maybe the crown of a flat, tam style knit hat, worked from the centre out so that I can supplement with commercial yarn around the edge if necessary.

Somewhat More Practical Sewing

So here’s a somewhat more practical project that I’m calling completed (for now at least).  These are the Cake Endeavour trousers in a linen blend.  I suppose they’re a little bit unusual again.  Wide legged, high waisted pants?  Is this something that exists in ordinary fashion these days?

(Oh look!  flash photography again!  As a bonus, these are not timer shots.  The Trorg wanted to help.)

IMG_2822 IMG_2823 IMG_2820

The fit is OK, I’m pretty happy with it through the waist and hips (after some serious fighting with it, they were initially significantly too large)  I’m not sure what’s going on with the zipper in that back picture.  I may have to investigate that and see if I can get it to lay more flat.

I’m not certain about the crotch fit.  it seems by turns to be too loose and too tight.  Something about the high-rise is doing that I think.  More problematically, I think these should have been made out of somewhat heavier fabric.  I’m not really happy with the way that the legs shape themselves to my knees and then look rumpled when I’m standing.

I’m also not sure I really like the wide legged thing.  It’s super comfortable, and works nicely for casual summer-wear, but I’m not sure If it’s going to be so great in fall.  It tends to feel like a kind of overwhelming amount of fabric unless I keep my top pretty small and cropped or tucked in.  I’m still debating narrowing these substantially, but maybe I should just put these away for summer and try again in a more fall appropriate fabric and style.


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