Get comfy. I have a lot to say. Or just quit reading when you're bored!
So today on Twitter, I got my first-ever nasty Tweet!
I'm so proud!
I had merely tweeted some photos of our wildflower fields. They were very pretty last night:
The Snot-rag who replied to me only knows about my lawyer hubby because I mention in my Twitter profile that I live on a farm with my hubby @gsclawfirm. Which I do. And I love him, even if he is a lawyer!
At first I had to share her tweet with my Facebook friends, because I wasn't even sure if she was being snarky. I mean, really: wildflowers inspiring vitriol? WTF? But they all agreed that she was indeed being a jerk, which was my sense as well.
Now this woman doesn't follow me on Twitter, but the Ontario Beekeeping Association does, and they retweeted my initial tweet, and that is one the woman (here in referred to as Ms. Snot-rag) replied to.
I'm not entirely sure of her bias, except that she lives in Alberta and has a lot of farm/farmer-related tweets in her feed. So I'm guessing she likes farmers. (I do too, mostly!)
My suspicions/observations are as follows:
(1) She hates lawyers (fair enough! I hate some of them too!)
(2) She makes a lot of presumptions about people she knows nothing about.
(3) She thinks that because 21 of our 86 acres are planted in wildflowers/native grasses as bird/pollinator habitat, that we aren't real farmers, aren't earning a living off our land, and can only afford to do that because my husband is a filthy-rich-greedy-bastard-of-a-moneybags lawyer! (Okay, I freely admit that we're not farmers! So what? Does that mean we can't live on a farm and do what we want with it? We pay the mortgage on it!)
(4) She's got some bass-ackwards ideas about women, because she presumes that I do nothing to earn an income. Uh, I am a graphic designer, an artist, a beekeeper, a writer, and I even supported Mr. Moneybags for a year when we were first starting out! Oh yeah, and I care for seventy billion rescue animals, or at least it feels like that some days.
(5) I do wonder if she someone who is taking sides in the neonicotinoid debates going on involving farmers and beekeepers. It's clear in my Twitter profile that I keep bees. I also say I live on an 86-acre pet farm. Regardless, apparently she feels free to shower sarcasm on me because I am not out on a tractor all day spraying soybeans with Roundup.
Ontario is planning on curbing the use of neonicotinoids soon and the result of that seems to be an unfortunate pitting of farmers against beekeepers. Which is ridiculous. I know plenty of farmers who keep bees. I also know plenty of farmers who would be screwed without pollinators.
The Grain Farmers of Ontario are taking the government to court over the whole thing and have made some frankly snotty comments about beekeepers and have threatened to spray foliage instead.
WHATever. Threats and nonsense and meanwhile, pollinators are dying everywhere. It just makes me sad that this is turning ugly, farmers vs beekeepers, and I suspect Ms. Snot-rag's tweet is a reflection of that, since she specifically picked up on the retweet by the OBA. On the other hand, maybe she knows I was born in downtown Toronto and hates me for that, too! :)
And I am sad that I lost hives this winter for the first time in the past six years and had several queen failures this spring. And if you think fields of soybeans support any kind of life, go stand in our soybean field (yes, we rent out 50 acres to a very nice farmer who plants some of it in soybeans!) then go stand in our wildflower field and tell me which field is filled with birds and insects (hint: no tofu comes from that field.)
So here's what I would have liked to say to Ms. Snot-rag, had I more than 140 characters:
(1) We can afford to keep 21 acres in wildflowers because we both work, we've both earned everything we own (none of it was handed to us), we rent out some of our land, and because a solar farm had to do a bird habitat project to make up for land THEY took out of production, so they paid for the seeds planted AND they pay us rent on the land AND Ducks Unlimited and the local conservation authority helped with the project and are maintaining the land! (Mowing or controlled burn every three years.) They also come to do bird counts here.
And we live in a part of Ontario where farms and farmland are still affordable for the average person. So you don't need to be married to a lawyer to have 21 acres in wildflowers! For the record, I know it's hard to believe, but not all lawyers are filthy rich! Not all lawyers are even assholes! I certainly am not complaining, of course. We just spend a ridiculous amount of our income on cat kibble, dog food, animals feed and vet care! But doo I LOOK like Eva Gabor?!
(2) It's incredibly insulting to presume that because someone has another job, he/she can't be a farmer too. We are not farmers. We don't claim to be! However I know PLENTY, and I do mean PLENTY of actual farmers around here who work their farms AND hold off-farm jobs. In fact, one of the biggest farm families I know not only farms many, many acres, they also run a cabinet-making business to supplement their income (and do beautiful work!) Wait, does that mean they aren't farmers? Does that mean they are not making a living off their land?! Are they lucky they are cabinet-makers so they can plant 2,000 acres of soybeans, wheat, corn and alfalfa?!
Hang on... although I said I'm not a farmer, I AM a beekeeper and my bees work those fields, and I earn money from those bees. So screw it, I'm a farmer! Yes!
At the end of the day, the thing that irks me most about this is the rudeness of some people on the internet. It's like driving a car through Toronto and giving someone the finger when they cut you off (who, me?! NEVER!) You feel all safe and anonymous in your car, free to let the assholery fly! It's the same on the internet. Sitting behind the screen all anonymous-like and sipping your coffee, you feel free to be rude and presumptive and say things to people you don't know as if you did know them. The whole world would be a better place if people thought twice before they opened their mouths or typed on their keyboard, and were just plain KIND and POLITE.
The sort of crap is the reason I can't bring myself to read online comments anymore (apart from on blogs!) They are invariably filled with bigotry, misogyny and ignorance and cater to the lowest common denominator.
Btw, I have plenty of admiration for farmers. Some of my best conversations are with the farmer who rents our land. I think they work hard. Why can't we all just get along? Are the Japanese really suffering because we took 21 acres out of soybeans destined to become tofu?
And that is the end of today's rant! If you want to know more about our Bobolink/Meadowlark habitat, here are links to previous posts:
PS: Ms. Snot-rag, in your Twitter profile you claim to be a writer. May I suggest a refresher course in the proper use of apostrophes?