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Jim Cumming - From the Publisher's Pen

Jim is the publisher of the Fort Frances Times Ltd. He writes a weekly column and can be contacted at jcumming@fortfrances.com

Snow depth is deceiving

It is surprising how the accumulation of snow is deceiving. Through to Christmas, we had very little snow on the ground. And even through to the last week of January, the depth of the snow was not huge.

The deer regularly waltzed through the yard and often bedded down either under the spruce tree or nestled close to the white birch.

They continued to come into the yard right up through the cold snap. The mother and two year-old fawns could bed down and, with their noses tucked in, would lie below the top of the snow.

Saluting our snow clearing crews

Sometime after 4 in the morning on Monday, I became aware of a grader rumbling by my house. Sometime later, the sound of the sidewalk plow made an impression on me.

When I finally was ready to go out shortly after 6:30 a.m., I was not wrong. Both had been by in the early hours of the morning.

Alas, by the time I got outside, two inches of snow already had covered over the path of the sidewalk plow and even more snow had created soft lines over the bank in the driveway.

Dealing with the cold

Early Sunday morning, the street light at the corner of our yard had a halo around it. And as the sun was rising in the east, it seemed like a fog had descended across the community as I looked out from a second-floor bedroom window.

In reality, it was just ice crystals in the air.

“Alexa” announced to me as I began making breakfast that the outside temperature was minus-43 C. I knew then that the hydro meter would be spinning madly as I reheated my garage workshop to continue on my project.

Sore hands from latest project

My hands are sore today (Monday) as I spent the weekend in my wood shop beginning a new project which is made almost entirely of red oak.

Beginning Saturday, on the coldest day of the year, I began planing the four oak boards and two ash boards to thickness.

My wife kidded me that I had waited so long to begin this project as I went out to the freezing side of the garage to set up my planer and equipment. Your breath just hung in the air as you exhaled in that side of the garage.

Food guidelines changing yet again

I will tell you right from the start that I am a Type 2 diabetic who is insulin dependent.

It has forced me to pay greater attention to what I eat for almost 25 years. Sometimes I have been more successful than at other times, and exercise certainly plays a very important role in controlling my blood glucose levels.

Early on, I had discovered that prepared foods wreaked havoc with blood sugar levels and I had to pay close attention to carbohydrates.

Will lacking by feds to move on pipelines

Each Wednesday I travel between Fort Frances and Rainy River delivering the Fort Frances Times to our news dealers.

Often in travelling the route with my wife, new ideas are floated about the crops that are being grown, fields that are being cleared, and the quality of herds that exist along the highway.

We cross the railroad tracks four times in going to Rainy River and three times in returning. I watch the red signal lights along the tracks to tell me where the trains are heading.

The industry-wide fix has become standard

I've been using the same software on my computer for almost a decade. It has performed flawlessly and I am very comfortable doing it.

However, with the latest update in the OS system, I'm now getting messages that the applications I've been using for so long no longer are compatible.

It is frustrating! I did one update too many.

I went to operate the old Word program and it told me that it is a 32-bit operation. But the OS update now operates at 64 bit and is too fast for that old program, which operated without problems up until the first of December.

Renewed optimism seen in district

It is the week before a New Year arrives and as I look back, it has been an exciting time for Rainy River District.

Record cattle sales and expanding grain fields greatly have increased the agricultural economy across the district. Daily truckloads of grain are passing through Fort Frances on their way to Thunder Bay or south into the United States.

More land will be turned into grain crops in 2019 and additional acreage will be developed in the coming year as grain crops grow in value.

Wonderful problems to tackle

It came out of the blue to the people of Fort Frances and Rainy River District that a company was making an offer to buy the idled Resolute mill complex here.

It is a dreamed of Christmas present that a deal can be struck and the work will take place to get the mill up into operation in 2019.

Seldom are the beginning of negotiations ever announced in advance. Announcements normally take place at the conclusion of a deal.

Christmas is all about memories and family

We put up our Christmas tree this past Friday and Saturday.

When our boys were young, we would go out on a tree-finding afternoon—often at my cousin's farm on the River Road. We would march through the bush, usually with one of the boys being pulled on a sleigh while the older son walked on the broken trail through the bush.

It was a full afternoon exercise before the appropriate tree was found and then brought back and tied on the roof of the van.