Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Not in my backyard

Two crazy ideas currently awaiting approval at the provincial and municipal levels of government have sparked lively round table discussions at Tim Hortons in Cap-Pele.

1. Introducing Wild Turkeys
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)
Wild turkeys are considered a non-native species in N.B., but some people feel they should be introduced to the province for hunting.  The New Brunswick chapter of the National Wild Turkey Association is seeking government approval for the relocation of 70,000 birds from Ontario.  The organization claims that a spring and fall Wild Turkey Hunt would generate much-needed revenue for the province.  (It is a well-established 30 million dollar industry in the state of Maine.)  

The Gov. of Maine website suggests that bagging a Wild Turkey is not a simple matter of aim and shoot.  
"Turkey hunting is a secretive sport in which a camouflaged hunter attracts the wary bird by use of a call. Success is not always measured in the number or size of the animals harvested, but in seeing, hearing or conversing with this game bird."
Hunters claim that a Wild Turkey, with its sharp eyesight and sensitive hearing, is a far more challenging prey than a white-tailed deer or a moose. It's the level of conversation that separates turkeys from the rest of the wild game in the forest.

A glance at the Ontario government website explains why that province would be delighted to ship several truckloads of turkeys to the Maritimes.  In 1984, 274 birds from the U.S. were introduced to Ontario as part of a cross-border wildlife exchange.  In the absence of natural predators like wolves, the Ontario turkey population expanded to a number of about 100,000 in two decades.  Described as a large, aggressive fowl with a voracious appetite, the Wild Turkey has earned a bad reputation, destroying crops and backyard gardens by day and roosting on decks and rooftops at night.  The male gobbler has long, sharp spurs on its legs and these are typically aimed at the groin of any human who attempts to shoo him away.  Experts advise turkey-plagued homeowners to combine motion detectors with a sprinkler attached to a spray hose to startle the birds. Other tips include tying balloons to the roof, or positioning bright fluorescent lights around the area where  Wild Turkey flocks like to congregate.

When you mess with nature, you're asking for trouble.

2. Trailers for rent

Backyard trailers installed as a permanent fixture in Cap-Pele
A proposed bylaw allowing Cap-Pele residents to park two recreational vehicles year-round on their property is being seriously considered by municipal council.  This measure would bring extra income to owners who have the option of renting the trailers out as vacation accommodation during the summer months.

Council members - many of whom just happen to own recreational vehicles -  have overlooked the downside of permanent trailer installation in an effort to please a community that's searching for ways to make money through tourism.  Turning a quiet village into a seasonal trailer park will inevitably create problems with waste disposal, noise pollution and neighbourhood security.  Not everyone likes the idea of looking out the kitchen window at a parked trailer, particularly when that less-than-scenic view of a tourist campsite may decrease property value for the homeowner.  Aesthetics haven't even entered the conversation for most proponents of the money-making scheme.

Letters voicing objections to the idea have been sent to Council, but already trailers are sprouting like dandelions on the lawns in Cap-Pele and I have a feeling that the bylaw is a mere municipal formality aimed at legalizing an accepted practice.

With two trailers on every lot and a Wild Turkey on every roof, this will be the summer for do-it-yourself home improvements:  high fences and motion-triggered sprinkler systems.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Leonard Cohen - Old Ideas

Dear Leonard:

I saw you last night at Moncton Coliseum
you looked like an artifact
in a museum
a figure that's bent
and worn at the seams
where was the hero
the poet of dreams?

You pulled from the darkness
a river of verse
a famous blue raincoat
(for better or worse)
old rags and feathers
a slave locked in chain
lines of seduction
remembered again.

You struggle to go deeper
when you sing the Word
it wasn't really singing
that chant of death I heard.

You push to play things harder
now that you are old
you aren't exactly feeble, but
neither are you bold.

You want to ride forever
on the glory and the fun
but the audience gets restless
and leaves before you're done.

Yours truly,
(A fan who stayed
for the encore)

Leonard Cohen on stage in Moncton

N.B.  Here's another take on the Old Ideas concert.