Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 10.07.04
Stanstead, Quebec


Hip advice for Country Newbies

STANSTEAD, QC | The 2005 Newbie Farmer's Almanac is now on sale. In a tradition going all the way back to 1987, our almanac provides information, lore, false hopes, and condescending advice to the newly affluent who are hell-bent on systematically gentrifying semi-rural areas and who don't feel "authentic" unless they're pushing up a crop of peas.

Our 2005 edition is pretty much identical to our 2004 edition; that's the "tradition" part we mentioned earlier. Here's a sneak preview:


  • Your New Neighbours: Local Colour or Riffraff?, page 16
  • Whither the Au Pair?, page 42
  • History: The Great Cappuccino Shortage of '83, page 50
  • Our Winning "Most Embarrassing Moment" Essay: "I Served an Australian Shiraz with SautEacute;ed Halibut and Shitake Mushrooms!", page 56
  • Weeding: The New Yoga, page 63
  • The Best Farmers' Markets in 2005 for Meeting Celebrities, page 71
  • Nice Melons!, page 79 Gardening for newbies

    Underneath every pesticide-drenched lawn there is a living thing called "soil." The word "soil" comes from the Latin "soi" meaning "the brown part" and "el" meaning "for growing stuff."

    Gardening can be very beneficial not only for your food budget but also for your self-esteem. You may have shunted your son off to military college after you failed him as a parent but your tomatoes will always reward your natural, if misunderstood, nurturing.

    Zucchini is a good crop to start with. Easy to grow and yields a bountiful harvest!

    Trends for 2005

    • Save those cardboard Minute Maid frozen juice tins. Already huge in Germany.
    • Adultery will continue to be big and - at last - incredibly hip!
    • Country living will become passé. Oops!
    General Weather Forecast 2004-2005

    Winter: Snow takes you by surprise in early November, like you never heard of such a thing before, setting off a panic of snow-tire buying and booking Christmas holidays in Banff.

    Heavy snow in January and February will have you feeling smug about paying your driveway plower by the season and not by the visit.

    In mid-March, high possibility of neighbors starting a petition to stop you from saying "Pretty sick of this white stuff, eh?"

    Spring: Pestilence of Biblical proportions: flooding in early April; raining frogs in May; in late May, the sun will turn blood red and birds will fall from the tree as the wind seems to howl, "Pre-e-e-pa-a-a-are…" Yard Sale season begins.

    Summer: Too hot, too wet, too cold, too buggy, too short.

    Fall: Days turn cool in early September; heavy risk of zucchini glut. 60 % POP (possibility of pumpkins) in October. Light winds and cooler temperature will cause neighbor's leaves to turn colours and fall into your swimming pool. Things get frosty.


    Do you suffer from a weepy eye? Are your eyeballs inflamed and red? Can you barely see when you wake up because your eyelid is caked shut with yellowish goo? Eeeeew!

    How to Compost

    Compost serves two purposes - it gets rid of household scraps and it helps you feel self-righteous about not clogging up a landfill somewhere (you're not sure where but it's not in your backyard). Keep a small bucket by your kitchen sink to collect vegetable trimmings, plastic bread tabs, and fruit stickers. When full, dump the bucket into the main compost bin in your yard. That's it. Simply ignore. Some compost enthusiasts actually add this disgusting gunk to their gardens. Otherwise, it's great for attracting flies and repelling neighbors.


    Rigel is effluent in Orion in early February, ascending its inoculation in perigee with a periwinkle moon on St. Filibuster's Eve. Look to the east to catch a glimpse of Saturn's estuary rings in March. In June, you can see the breathalyzation of the local constabulary as a pre-dawn full moon offers optimum viewing of your neighbor getting stopped for drunk driving. In July, there will be a conjunction of barbecues and Uranus jokes.

    Advertisement Miracle salve: Great for soothing hands nicked and bloody from grating all those damn zucchinis. Call 1-800-SNAKEOYL.