My Grandfather's Recipe For Success
Grandfather was a farmer and a mechanic. His family immigrated to Canada from Scotland. The first wave of Scots came to Canada to be free of serfdom and to own land-farm land. They were a meat and potatoes lot. Many stayed on the East Coast of Canada becoming fishermen. My clan, McKinnon, is a common name in Canada's East, but my extended family continued West and settled in Alberta. Grandpa used to love telling me, "at your age, when I stepped out of that Westbound train, I could see for three days." A reference to the flat prairie land, big sky country. Then he would laugh and laugh (genuinely).
During and shortly after the two world wars, Canada knew shortage. My Grandfather stayed on the land, as farming was considered in Canada's national interest. The few men left behind worked ridiculously hard, planting and harvesting not only theirs, but many neighbours’ acres. Wartime measures meant everybody worked, or our Country would lose its’ fight.
Grandpa, and his community, took heavy oil mixed with sand (found abundantly in the Lloydminster area of Alberta). With the oil they built distillers-heavy oil upgrading 101-to produce gasoline and other by-products used in earlier farm equipment and tractors. They did this because gas was a scarce commodity, so they found a way to help. Years later, oil sands became a prominent mining concern in Canada.
As a boy I walked with Grandpa. He wanted to teach me about scarcity-things he learned from wartime. Food was a big issue for his generation, waste highly frowned upon. Learning to live off the land could sustain not only your life but that of your families. I often wonder-if Grandpa was alive and he visited the mega stores of present day, like Costco- how would he react?
I learned a lot from Gramps, about value and innovation. From our forest hikes, Grandpa and I roasted grasshoppers over a camp fire. He showed me which 'weeds' to pick for campfire soup. Now people don't believe me when I tell them this next part, but Grandpa and I collected rabbit poop for the soup. Let that sink in a bit.
You see rabbits are animals that chew their cud. Unlike ruminant animals-cows-they don't have divisions or multiple stomachs. You see, a rabbit on first pass excretes little balls of hi-energy, vegan wrapped enzymes. The rabbit, a few hours or days later, returns and eats round one, and on second pass thru the stomach it becomes poop. Rabbits eat their round one veggie balls and/or their neighbours. Rabbits are highly communal animals. Anyhow, with the aid of his trained eye, Grandpa and I collected and added these rabbit poops to our soup mix, one of the most enzyme rich foods known to man.
Honestly, I don't know if that type of information is at all an enhancement to my life. However, I am what I am, in all my glory. It serves to illustrate a lost ideal to millennials and subsequent generations. I was raised to believe in industry. Make something and trade with your neighbours. Work as a community, specifically with your hands, and you'll never go hungry. In fact, you will prosper. Own your farmed land (or other property). Produce energy or goods. That's the way I was raised and I live by it.
I remember Grandfather’s hands. He had the strongest hands of any man I've known. Grandpa worked in freezing cold with his hands. He could repair almost anything (if he was predisposed). Although, I doubt he'd be much good repairing iPhones and the like, but you never know. Grandpa liked to tinker.
Today, I follow in my family tradition. I'm working hard in the business of luxury gemstones and precious metals. It is unlike anything I have ever done before and I'm loving every minute of it. Do you want to know more?