By Cam Mather

Michelle and I constantly have debates about this blog.

I write these posts but Michelle edits them and makes them coherent (or as coherent as she can, given the material that I provide.) Our discussions usually occur when she has decided to remove a word/paragraph/section of a post that I’ve written. If she feels that something is inflammatory, libelous, offensive … you name it, she takes it out.

Sometimes I write a post and she just doesn’t getting around to posting it. She’ll say, “That was a downer.” She’ll post a more upbeat one instead.

We’ve been having a debate about a recent post that I wrote that she finds bleak. I didn’t think it was that bad, but she doesn’t like it.

So we’ve agreed to post it on Thursday and let today’s post serve as a warning to anyone who prefers to focus on the positive. If you are one of those “up” people, maybe you don’t want to read it.

I don’t believe it’s that bad, more philosophical than bleak, but that will be open to interpretation.

A lot of readers have found our blog through sources like Mother Earth News. Our blog started out more about renewable energy and living off-grid and has morphed into a broad sort of rant, with much of it centered on homesteading and country living.

Most of the time, the majority of the time … actually almost all of the time I love living where I do. We have an awesome place. This past July really sucked, though. It was because of the drought and oppressive heat. It was because of climate change. I wrote a blog, actually a rant, about how gross a month it was and we got lots of feedback. I don’t think it would be very honest to perpetually write blogs about how awesome country life is. It’s pretty awesome, but trying to grow food in a drought, an historic drought, the worst in many, many decades, is not awesome. It sucks.

I tend to dwell on the dark side of life. Michelle and I have developed a “code.” Whenever we’re (i.e. I’m) in a mode where we’re (I’m) spending a lot of time talking negatively, one of us will say, “Have you noticed how beautiful the sunflowers are this year?” This is our little reminder to change the subject and smarten up, because most of the sunflowers managed to survive the drought and they are awesome. And one should try and stay positive and stop dwelling on the negative.

I just finished reading Michael J. Fox’s latest book “Always Looking Up” (purchased second hand.) I’m hoping to learn some coping techniques. How can a guy with a debilitating disease like Parkinson’s stay so “up”? I don’t get it. I was inspired to read it because Macleans Magazine did an article on research that indicates some people may have a genetic predisposition to optimism. (

I don’t believe I have this gene. I remember standing in front of Burlington City Council in the late 80’s, when I was on their Sustainable Development Committee, railing on about how things needed to change because researchers were predicting changes in the weather like storms and droughts … oh … like the kind we had this summer. So yes, I must say I am not in an “optimistic” mode right now. I’m sure I’ll be fine when the wet cool fall weather returns. All will be forgotten. Until I lace on my skates and head down to the pond to skate on the… mud.

So on Thursday’s blog we’ll post a photo, which I have probably talked about previously, taken of our house many decades ago, and the effect it has on me. Shiny happy people – you’ve been warned.