Archive for the ‘PSA’ Category


In a month’s time, I turn 40.

I’ve spent the last 9 years not paying too much attention to my age, nor doing very much to mark the passing years, but turning 40 seems significant, somehow.

I’ve got a vague inkling of an idea of something I might want to do to mark this birthday, but I’m still trying to decide if I actually do want to do something special, and if I do, to work out the details of what.

I will probably blog about it on and off for the next month.

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No, I haven’t cut myself.

I did, however, develop a nasty case of tiny, red, itchy blisters on the backs of both hands late Saturday afternoon after spending an half an hour Saturday morning scything. It worse when I woke up Sunday morning. I assumed I had touched some stinging nettles, or something similar without noticing it, which was causing the reaction. It was similar to something I’d had occasionally before, which I always assumed was some kind of heat rash or contact dermatitis from touching some plant or other.

One of the local Ontarians we were talking to at Music in the Pines noticed me scratching and diagnosed it as a Wild Parsnip burn.

Wild Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) is all over the place out here. The juice from the stem and leaves contains “furocoumarins” chemicals that makes your skin ultra-sensitive to UV radiation. So if you get Wild Parsnip juice on your skin (say, from cleaning the cuttings off your scythe blade before you re-sharpen it) and then your skin is exposed to sunlight, you get a bad burn. Which explains why I only got it on the back of my hands – my palms are busy holding the handles of the scythe, and thus aren’t exposed to sunlight.

Now I’m going to have to wear gloves to scythe. Bah. And be a lot more careful what I touch when I’m out in the fields walking the dog. Double-Bah!

There’s some info from the Ontario government about Wild Parsnip here: Plants You Don’t Want to Touch!.

It’s one of the few things that warrants using herbicides to control, because it can very easily cause second-degree burns – which you don’t feel at the time, and don’t even know about until 24 to 48 hours later! 

This isn’t going to stop me from (very, very carefully) harvesting some for dinner in the fall.

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PSA, x2

Earth Hour 2009

This Saturday, March 28th, at 8:30pm people all over Canada and around the world will turn off their lights for an hour. Earth Hour is a symbolic gesture to remind us of the role that energy, and electricity in particular, plays in our lives. In many parts of the world, electricity is generated by burning fossil fuels. In our part of Canada, electricity is generated by damming an increasing number of freshwater rivers, disrupting the ecosystems of the now-flooded land.

Cities and utilities around the world will track the power “dip” that results from the lights going out – with the goal of encouraging businesses (such as office towers) and governments to limit unnecessary nighttime lights.

Sign up to register your participation in Earth Hour in Canada.

Information for Montreal events (which include art projects and music by local – presumably acoustic – bands) is here: Ideas in the Dark

So turn the lights out, unplug all the electronic gizmos, light a bunch of candles, and spend an hour enjoying the dark! 

It’s CSA time!

If you’re thinking about signing up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) vegetable basket for the summer – now is the time. Most CSAs are taking registrations now, and they fill up quickly.

We were very happy with Verger aux Quatre Vents, who have drop points in Ville-Emard, Pointe St. Charles, and on the south shore. 

To find  CSA that has a drop point near you in Quebec, use the Equiterre search page (in French – they don’t seem to have translated that part of the website yet).

For Ontarians, use the Ontario CSA Directory

And I should also plug our neighbors in Monkland, Love Those Weeds.

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