Laments Christmas excess

Nov. 25 is Black Friday to many (shops and shopaholics) and to others it’s just “Fur-free Friday.”

While I can, and have, respected Fur-free Fridays for many years, I personally find that Black Friday, for all those Christmas shoppers amongst us is, an insensitive and rather disrespectful shopping feast when one considers what has been happening in the world now and for many, many months.

With the horrors of war continuing, with babies, children, women, old people, as well as hospitals, schools, residential apartment buildings etc.being under constant attack, I find it amazing so many of us here in safe Canada can bring themselves to go all out to shop until we drop, interested in buying at the cheapest prices all those Christmas presents for thousands of Canadian kids who already have way more than any kid should ever own.

Is that how insensitive and pathetically uncaring we have become? It certainly seems that way.

It’s what we do each and every year—kill thousands of turkeys, ducks, chickens and whatever other animals seem to be celebratory enough to us and have a good old time celebrating with giant plastic trees and an overload of useless presents. We can stuff the remains of all the previous Christmas times into our already over-stuffed garages, where nobody nowadays can even find room for their cars anymore.

Yes, it is a sad and traumatic time for so many people in this world and the war in Ukraine brings—or should bring—it home to us here on a daily basis, even if we don’t want to think about it or see it on our oversized TVs anymore.

I believe we would all feel a little happier about ourselves if we just forgot about the overload of presents and used whatever money we planned to splurge on presents nobody needs, on donations to the Ukrainian people.

NATO is sending plenty of war arms to help fight off the Russian attacks, but as long as (Russian President Vladimir) Putin is still the “emperor” of his war, millions of Ukrainian people do not know whether they’ll live another hour, day or week.

Who cares about Christmas when so many are hovering in cold shelters, afraid every hour of their surviving days. It is simply wrong to celebrate such a feast of expensive dead animals and useless toys while people are being murdered for no other reason than some idiot wants to be a conqueror again, no matter the cost.

A true Christmas spirit would be to give and give as much as we can afford to the people of Ukraine, the homeless, the poor, as well as the hundreds of thousands of abused and unwanted animals in this world.

Believe me, it feels much better to do that than to go into debt because our dear families must have it all, but never enough, and waste our dollars on “made in China” junk that has become a huge part of life.

Instead of murdering millions of animals, let’s set an example and have a humane vegetarian dinner.

Manon Mulder, Kelowna


Learn how to can food

I think farm food waste is a huge problem, but it's not the farmers’ fault. It is the ignorance of the people.

Most people don't know they can eat pumpkins and squash in a variety of ways that are extremely filling, cheap and delicious. We have been curated into cooking and eating a certain way, so when we see oddly shaped squash that are unique colours, we only see them as table decorations and not what should be filling the dishes on the table.

I started food preserving (food) in my teens out of curiosity. It has now turned into a full time hobby and passion. Almost all vegetables can be preserved through water bath canning or pressure canning. The problem is the lack of knowledge to do so.

Most people don't do this anymore as it takes too much time and (some feel it) is too costly. But to those who say it is too costly, I would say, they’re buying the wrong produce.

I am a dedicated customer of Paynter's Market (in West Kelowna), which routinely throughout the summer, sells its misshapen and semi-bruised fruit at 50 cents per pound.

I have picked up wind-fall peaches for 20 cents per pound. I have jars of jam that have cost me as little as $1.20 to make (this includes all ingredients that went into the jam.)

I bought flats of squash last winter from a farm that sold however many squash you could fit into the flat for $20. I pressure canned them and ended up with 14 quarts of squash, ready to eat or turn into soup. That's $1.40 per quart.

The problem is not the farms, the problem is the people.

We have lost touch with our food—what it is, how to cook it, how to make it taste delicious and how to preserve it. The squash I canned last year will sit good on my shelf for five-plus years as per safety guidelines.

Recently, Paynter's Fruit Market put out bags of apples, left over from its season, for purchase. Alongside those apples was a bin of free apples and pears and a few butter nut squash too.

Yes, they are a bit small, ugly and some were bruised, but the apple butter I plan on making with the apples doesn't care. Further more, it was free, making my final pints of apple butter under $1 each after added the ingredients.

Farming hasn't changed. Seeds are planted, plants grow, food is created. I worked a season in the market at Paynter’s, simply for a love of the farm and a desire to learn more about agriculture. It blew my mind how many people I had to educate on what was grown and that yes, you can eat it.

Recently, my husband and I were driving along Rutland Road to the YMCA and I saw all the pumpkins not purchased after halloween, covered in snow. It saddened me that so much food was sitting there with a future of rotting when so many people are struggling to buy groceries. Those pumpkins were not just suitable for carving as lanterns, but capable of becoming the most delicious, and filling soup. Not only that, it's dead easy to make.

I would encourage more people to learn about how to preserve food, how to get in touch with their local farms to purchase the overflow at a cheaper rate.

I know farmers hate seeing their crops go to waste, and if it came down to it, would rather give it away than see it rot.

We don't have a food shortage in Canada, and especially the Okanagan. We have a shortage of knowledge on how to eat and preserve the food that our region grows.

Don't know where to start? I learned most of what I know onYouTube.

Shonah Nykiforuk

Government wrong on guns

The (federal government) says it is banning weapons "designed for war.”

Last I checked, a shotgun with a 30-inch barrel was not designed for the battlefield. Ninety-nine point nine per cent of the weapons listed in the (government’s) ban were not designed for war. The only rifles in Canada that ever saw war were the SKS and the M1 garand, back in the First Worlds War. (They were) plain jane, old, wood-stock, semi-automatic centerfires.

The other (thing) that gets me is the constant referral to sporting and hunting rifles and shotguns as "assault style.” An assault rifle is a selective fire rifle, meaning you can select single shot, semi or full automatic. These weapons have been banned since the 1970s in Canada.

We don’t have assault weapons in Canada, regardless of what the (prime minister) says. He is just using scary words and renaming our legal firearms to freak out those who don't know better. That is called lying. What a surprise from this regime.

Then there is the five round capacity issue. Well, newsflash! Centerfire rifles, detachable magazines or not, already have a legal maximum capacity of five rounds in this country.

This is all out civil disarmament, under the farcical guise of public safety. Legal gun owners are vetted. They are not the problem. It’s a pathetic attempt to grab votes from inner city people by going after the low-hanging fruit, rather than tackle the real issue of illegal smuggling and gang violence.

Rich Besinger

Unhappy with council

So let me get this straight, five current (Summerland) council members were part of the previous council that voted for a pay raise with benefits.

Now the current Summerland council just voted to reduce the number of council meetings, cut out citizen involvement, and give more decision-making to unproductive departments like the building services department, which will only delay things further.

The decision by Summerland council is an affront to democracy and getting things done. It should run (the city) like a business, meaning streamlining or staff changes.

Maybe fewer reports and more action by staff and council. Maybe focus on the three Rs—real estate, roads and recreation—not things the council should not focus on. If that doesn't work, perhaps (there should be) staff changes.

There are some excellent staff members but there are some terrible ones who don't focus on the taxpayer, (they) focus on the council and staff. It's wrong. It's backwards. It’s undemocratic.

So, Summerland council, please do your job and streamline the process and make improvements for the betterment of the taxpayers, not just the staff. You owe it to the people who pay your increased salary and benefits.

If the staff has too much, then consider why and improve it. Don't exacerbate the problem by eliminating meetings.

What's next, monthly or bi-monthly meetings?

Do what is right and make the changes needed to improve what goes on in Summerland. Just because you have a monopoly on approvals and dictates doesn't mean you should drag things out for as long as possible.

How about making it easier to do business in Summerland instead of making it worse every time someone, or some business, tries to do something?

1. Look at processes. There’s an) old work proverb “work fills the time allowed” and this new change will only hurt businesses and taxpayers.

2. Figure out how to streamline. Cut out things that don't belong on council agendas.

3. Return council meetings to the previous schedule or do like other municipalities in the province do with committee of the whole meetings on the first and third Mondays of the month and council meetings second and fourth Mondays of the month

The taxpayers don't work for the staff or council. Stop treating us so badly and do your job.

Ron Kubek, Summerland

Light pollution a problem

In Kelowna, we have a light pollution problem.

This means all the light coming from the city is making the night sky and all the stars less visible.

Light pollution affects plants and animals and our own natural rhythms but I am most concerned about not being able to see the stars, constellations, Northern Lights, Milky Way and all the beautiful things I grew up appreciating.

City Hall has taken some measures to help with light pollution but the biggest polluters are probably the car dealerships along Enterprise Way and Highway 97. They all run extremely bright lights all night long, which light up our valley floor.

I imagine their reasoning is to prevent crime and theft but I am sure there are better ways to secure their lots without creating such an eyesore.

The city should take action and come up with simple bylaws that dissuade light polluters.

I was born and grew up in Kelowna seeing the stars, and I hope the next generation can have the same experience. Let's help keep our night skies darked so the stars can shine bright.

Stephen Atherton

Homeless have phones too

Re. Terri Wishart's letter Questions homeless app (Castanet, Nov. 23)

Many of the homeless we've seen lately are more than capable of accessing any app. They have the latest phones, bikes and designer garb.

We don't see this declining in a Premier David Eby autocratic wonderland.

Gordon and Janet Brooks, Kelowna

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