Directions To Any Given Farm

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CattleAnnie

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Here's a little article I came across a year ago in the Western Producer, a farm and ranch oriented newspaper in Canada. It kind of made me grin and I'm hoping you will too.

Directions To Any Given Farm
Thursday November 6, 2003

Directions to any given farm are in miles. That makes sense because the country was surveyed and mapped out in miles.

Unfortunately, every car of reasonable youth measures distance in kilometres.

Miles versus kilometres are the first challenge when a reporter sets out for an on-farm interview.

Directions to any given farm are frequently given using north, south, east and west. It's innate for those familiar with a region. But figuring out north from west from the other two directions can be quite a stretch for a visitor navigating unfamiliar country on a rainy day.

Accurate compass points are the second challenge.

Directions to any given farm are often full of detail. "Drive three miles west from town and you'll pass a red barn on your right. Then you go around a curve with a slough at the bottom of a little hill, and on your left you'll see a place with sheep in the field out front. You go another couple miles and you'll see a radio tower just to the south of you, and then the road turns back west for about a mile and you'll come to a country church, that's the one where me and the missus got married..."

After noting every detail and then driving the distance, the farm turns out to be almost exactly 10 kilometres down the only road winding out of the nearest town.

The third challenge: unnecessary detail.

Directions to any given farm are couched in local history. "We're just east of Bill Smith's old place." Bill who? And where?

Shortage of local history knowledge is the fourth challenge.

Directions to any given farm can be deeply ingrained with the dweller. "Oh, you go five miles north, a mile east and a mile north, and there we are."

Upon arrival, the visitor finds the farm landmarked by two 90-foot silos that can be seen from 10 miles (and kilometres) away.

"Well, we've only had those up for the past five years," explains the farmer when asked. "I've been giving the same directions for a lot longer than that."

Fifth challenge: excessive reliance on the obvious.

Directions to any given farm include one of two things: "You can't miss it," and "if you come to the railroad tracks (river, correction line, 'I love Jean Chretien' billboard) you've gone too far."

The sixth challenge is learning when to ask for directions.

So if reporters are occasionally late for farm interviews, please bear with them. They'll be along shortly.


Take care.
 
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