The Myth of “Living the Dream” in the Country: The Northern Ontario Experience.
PEACE AND QUIET:
For most people considering a move to the country; peace means SECURITY- worry free living. You can leave your door open. You will be moving to a place where neighbours get together to help each other out, just like “the olden days” of barn-raising and quilting bees.
There was a reason that EVERYONE CARRIED A GUN BACK IN THOSE DAYS.
Back then, just as today, about 33% of the people you meet are good people who will help their neighbor. Unfortunately the other 66% are made out of people that you must keep an eye on. 33% are out to screw you over. The remaining 33% are either indifferent or could waffle from one side to the other on any given day.
If you think there is no crime or less crime in the country, THINK AGAIN!
You are moving to the POT GROWING CAPITAL OF ONTARIO which means organized crime. While exploring trails on your ATV you may cross paths with a biker-type carrying an automatic weapon. When he tells you that “you should not be here”, LISTEN TO HIM and go back the way you came- QUICKLY!
Add to that the local teens with little to do to kill the boredom, that will get drunk, high or both and come up with some really bad ideas as to how to keep the party going.
Lastly is the saddest group, the alcoholics, drug addicts, sociopaths and schizophrenics that were displaced by cut-backs to the Ontario health system. They too are here for low cost living.
THEY ARE YOUR NEW NEIGHBOURS.
They are easily managed if you BUY A GUN AND FIRE IT OFTEN to make them think twice.
The QUIET will make up for these other minor negative points though, so long as your idea of quiet includes logging trucks that literally shake the place when they go down a near-by highway, chainsaws and gunshots just like in The Red Green Show, ATV’s every weekend for 8 MONTHS, snowmobiles the other 4 MONTHS, plus heavy power boat traffic for 2 MONTHS and the never ending over-flights of commercial, military and police aircraft THAT WERE NOT THERE TWENTY YEARS AGO. Oh yeah, do not forget your neighbour who is building a mansion with diesel powered excavation equipment.
FRESH AIR AND SUNSHINE IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS:
If by “fresh” you mean COLD- then yes.
Northern Ontario has some of the freshest air short of the Arctic Circle because THAT IS WHERE MOST OF OUR AIR COMES FROM.
The winter of 2013-14 was horrible everywhere in the province but here are some statistics from my area: In each of the 8 months beginning in October and including April- it snowed. In that same period, the temperatures NEVER HIT POSITIVE DOUBLE DIGITS. In other words +10C or 50F was not seen for an 8 month period. For 4 consecutive months the temperatures NEVER WENT ABOVE FREEZING. For that same period the typical night-time temperatures were -20C to -40C or -40F (they are the same at that point on the scales).
For most of 6 months, “dressing up” meant putting on your “good” long-underwear and snow pants.
Sunshine happened occasionally for 30 minutes a day if you were lucky and you may have had to travel to see it. In winter sunshine comes with a price. Clear skies often mean extreme cold. There were entire weeks that went by without seeing the sun.
A favourite joke when it did come out was “What is that fireball in the sky?” SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is rampant without the sun and its natural vitamin D production. In December you will get four hours of sunlight, if you are lucky and you will not want to be outside.
“Feel the burn” is usually a phrase associated with a work-out but here it means frostbite or sunburn due to the giant hole in the ozone layer overhead.
BEING SURROUNDED BY NATURE:
The fantasy of having rabbits or foxes and deer playing in your yard was my reality. So was the more disturbing unwanted less cute critters like bears, wolves, fishers, skunks, raccoons, snakes and what some people thought was a cougar.
YOUR FANTASY OF RUNNING NAKED THROUGH THE FOREST MIGHT GET YOU KILLED BY NATURE.
Being surrounded by nature means GOOD HUNTING:
BUG SEASON is open all year round!
Black Fly season begins as soon as the snow melts and lasts for 2 TO 3 MONTHS! For those not familiar, this is a CARNIVORE about the size of a flea that does not like their homes being disturbed by anything- especially raking. A distant relative of the Piranha fish, they will attack in great numbers and devour ANY EXPOSED FLESH. Working out-doors means covering up or using massive quantities of CANCER CAUSING AGENTS to keep just some of them away. Locals like to make Black Fly season even scarier to tourists by making jokes like: “The Black Flies are so big this year that I just saw one humping a Partridge.”
Some years you will be given a choice between bleeding bites from Black Flies and lumps from the West Nile Virus carrying Mosquitoes. Mosquito season can last for 5 MONTHS and begins with the heat of summer that will kill off most of the Black Flies but the mosquito will only be killed off by cold.
In July the mosquito will be joined by other man-eating species like Deer Flies and Horse Flies. Deer Flies are about the size of a house fly, but they are a fast delta-winged biter that lives in wooded areas.
The Horse Fly likes (you guessed it): horses. Now they have adapted to eat other mammals, as horses are not as common as they once were. Horse Flies appear as an over-sized house fly until he takes a chunk out of you. They are relatively slow which means you can often swat them with your hand. They do not drown easily and I have tried. The Horse Fly loves a sunny day at the beach especially when humans are on the lunch menu. If you want a high kill ratio, then wait until they start to bite before swatting. Like a human eating a good steak, they are savouring the taste of your meat and are not paying attention.
Dragon Flies, Bees and Butterflies are often COLLATERAL DAMAGE when using insecticides. Though they are beneficial, sometimes they are just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Just there to piss you off are June Bugs, Moths and Ants. Enjoy the hunt and the kill. FYI- moth season is open year-round as somehow they will last into December when all others have died or are in a cryogenic sleep.
Spiders, ants and house flies are available for hunting without having to go outside- year round.
The stinging varieties and there are many:
Wasps- especially Ground Wasps that nest under rotting logs, Hornets and Yellow Jackets are like ISIS members- TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY. It is them or us. In late summer or early fall many of the stingers cannot cope with the idea that their lives are about to end; they act insanely and commit suicide by attacking you for no reason.
Blogus Interruptus… continued next week.
Ms. Creant: The Wrong Doers!
Life with Women: the long awaited instruction manual.
talks of relationships, health, life, biology, philosophy, sociology, theology, genetics- even physics as well as the idea that WE ARE HERE TO LEARN SOMETHING.
I am learning.
I learned to swear more often and conjugate profanities like never before.
Enjoy your week. I have to go kill something.