EPISODE 199 ICE SKATING ON THE CREDIT RIVER…THEN DISASTER
EPISODE 198: Spare Bed for Andrew
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From: ALAN SKEOCH <email@example.com>Subject: Spare Bed for AndrewDate: December 19, 2020 at 2:26:09 PM ESTTo: Marjorie Skeoch <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Alan Skeoch <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org, Julie Skeoch <email@example.com>, Kevin Skeoch <firstname.lastname@example.org>
EPISODE 198 THE DAY WE DISCOVERED OUR SON ANDREW HAD GROWN UP
Fwd: EPISODE 197 NICE THING … KATE AND JIM MCCARTNEY…RECIPROCATION
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From: ALAN SKEOCH <email@example.com>Subject: EPISODE 197 NICE THING … KATE AND JIM MCCARTNEY…RECIPROCATIONDate: December 18, 2020 at 9:24:11 AM ESTTo: Alan Skeoch <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Marjorie Skeoch <email@example.com>, John Wardle <firstname.lastname@example.org>
EPISODE 197 NICE THINGS HAPPEN….KATE AND JIM MCCARTNEY AUCTIONEERS
I was startled one day last year when registering for another Jim Mccartney auction sale. His wife,
Kate, said. “Just a minute, I have a surprise for you.” And she gave me this charcoal drawing of myself. Framed.
EPISODE 196 WELSH MINER’S LANTERNS IN ONTARIO BARN… MCARTNEY SALE
EPISODE 196: WELSH MINER’S LANTERNS FOUND IN AN ONTARIO BARNalan skeochoct. 2018
updated Dec. 2020
Earlier I related the heart warming story of Jack the Clydesdale whose home in Dr. Richardson’s barn is secure in spite of the auction sale. The new ownerof the farm wanted Jack as much as she wanted the farm.There was another unusual facet of the Richardson auction…which is the subject of this story.TWO WELSH MINERS LAMPS: WHAT WERE THEY DOING IN AN ONTARO BARN IN 2018?ALAN SKEOCHOCT. 2018
Seemed out of place. Two heavy copper cylinders sat on a table outside the Richardson Barn at their Sept. 8, 2018 auction sale. Something clickedin my mind when I noticed them so I took a quick picture and hustled to the other auctioneer who was selling a coyote pelt and a horse trough that looked better thanthose cylinders.“Marjorie, you might throw a bid at those cylinders if the price is right.”“What are they?”“Not sure but those cylinders are out of place…not something found in Ontario barns…wishI could remember what it is about them. Important. But don’t go crazy in your bidding.”“Here they are, Alan, Happy Birthday.”“ Now I remember… These two copper cylinders are…“Jim McCartney, the auctioneer called them ship’s lanterns.”“Well he is wrong. These are miner’s lanterns…designed to give a very little bitof light in the dismal darkness of coal mines in South Wales.”“Why so big and so heavy…allow just a flicker of light.”“The real purpose is to detect dangerous coal gas…explosive. These lanternswere invented after hundreds of British coal miners had died from gas ignitionsunderground. A spark. A candle. A match. Enough to blow a coal mine into amass graveyard.. In the 19th century these underground detonations in coal mineswere regular events.”“What gas are you talking about?“Lots of different gas in coal mines…I suppose the worst was methane trappedin pockets in the coal…ignites easily,”“How did methane get into coal?”“Coal was once ferns, trees, plants of all kinds…most once grew in the Carboniferous Era 359 million of years ago to 299 million years ago inthe Paleozoic period when the earth was really swampy and oceans were hundreds of feetlower because so much water was trapped in arctic and antarctic polar ice. Plants lived anddied, their bodies forming thick blankets of decaying matter. Gas was part of he process of decay.These thick beds of plants eventually got covered with sediment in later eras forming coal whichis a sedimentary rock formed by pressure and the absence of oxygen. Thick beds of coal arefound in pockets all over the world…lots in Canada and the United Staes and Britain and a massiveamount in China.”“Slow down, Alan…do you mean this coal which we can buy in the store is 300 million years old?”“Correct…ancient as time…measured in millions of years…that one chunk of coal.”“So coal is plentiful but not infinite…what happens when we use all the coal?”“Good thinking…dreadful thinking really. It took millions of years to press those ancient plants into coal. Yetwe have only been burning coal for about 300 years…consumption big time. When the coal is gone there will beNo more coal madeunless a catastrophic even happens and our trees and plants are once again covered with sediment and pressed into new coal.”“You scare me at times. Get back to that methane…where does it come from?”“Methane was identified back in 18th century by a scientist who noticed ‘swamp gas”bubbled up and smelled bad. Produced by rotting vegetation. Deep coal mines trapmethane pockets of CH4 (Methane) that is released by miners. Mix methane with oxygenand the chance of explosion occurs.”“Has that ever happened?”“Don’t play around with me…of course coal mine explosions have happened…lots of times.Some truly devastating.”“Name one.”“Universal Colliery, Sengheydd, Wales…massive underground explosion on October 14, 1913, killed 439 minersof the 1,000 underground at the time…and 100 horses…worst mining disaster in British history.Families waiting for announcement of deaths in the Universal Colliery, Wales. Nearlyhalf of the 1,000 coal miners died in the explosion…and 100 horses.“You mean there were 1,000 men digging coal deep in the bowels of Wales and nearly half were killed.”“Right. And that is just one example. Coal miner was killed or maimed every six hours. Miningis a dangerous business.“Did you say there were 200 horses down there as well.“I did. So many stories…where to begin?”“And what about those copper cylinders…how do they fit into the story?”“Good comment…let’s deal with those things. Look at the pictures below.“Your lamps…I see them in those miners hands…same thing”“Designed to sample the air…lamp gets brighter if explosive air in the stope…gives miners warning to get the hell out fast.”“What about those horses? Just leave them to get killed?”“Most miners loved their horses…living company for them in the near absolute darkness of the mine stopes and alleyways.”“You said ‘most’ which means some miners were not so kind.”“Correct. Just like any collection of human beings there are always ‘not so nice’ miners who abused the horses.”“How?”“Beat them. There is an amusing story about one miner who abused his horse. The horses bolted and ran through the minetunnels while the miner chased after him. Eventually the horse just disappeared much to the chagrin and anger of the miner.“How could a grown horse disappear in a coal mine?”“That’s what the miner said.”“Was the horse ever found?”“Yes, a while later. The horse had jogged into a side tunnel where a coal cart had been parked. He hid behind the cart whilethe angry miner ran back and forth cursing no doubt.”‘How could a horse hide in a coal mine?”“Easy. You have forgotten that coal mines were pitch dark most places. The horse knew every twist and turn in the mine eventhough he could not see. Amazing. If horses could only laugh and whinny softly, ‘You son of a bitch, you won’t find me here nobattery how you yell and swear.’”“God, must have been awful down there in the darkness.”“No one knows really except for the men deep in the pits.”“Some of those coal seams were not very thick…no room for horses for sure…I saw pictures of men pick axing coal seams whilelying of their sides…maybe only three feet of clearance. Horse no help there.”“That’s where the miners kids proved useful…small people needed.”“Children in coal mines?”“:Sure, some as young as six years old. Some children spent their lives deep in those pits. A lot of them died in explosions and roof collapseand accidents…and then there was black lung…dreaded killer when sharp bits of coal dust builds up in the lung. Terrible death.“You exagerate, Alan, little children were not miners.”“Sure as hell were…as a matter of fact children were used in coal mines before horses. The horses, most of them, replaced thechildren when child abuse scandals became general knowledge in the 1840’s in Britain. Children were prohibited in mines.“Saved?”“Not completely. Who would know if a kid was deep in the mine. Absolute darkness except for slivers of light from these lamps.Miners were poorly paid…needed the extra cash from their children. Many payed rent for company houses and had to shop incompany stores…wages barely covered expenses. Mine owners were not always humane…they wanted profits like anycapitalist.Note re: Miner’s lamps/ left: kind of lamp given to foremen and mine execsright: kind of lamp given to miners and children, obvious wear, has numberwhich was checked off as miners left shift…a way of checking who was still below.In mine collapses and explosions this system gave identity of men still inmine, either dead or alive.CHILDREN, DOWN IN THE COAL MINES“The first coal seems were found on the seacoasts…thin bands of coal…this led to problems.”“Problems?”“yes, the deeper the coal was mined the smaller the tunnel?”“So?”“So , small people were best as miners…and agile people who could easily crawl on hands and knees.”“So?”“So, who are the smallest people?”“Children!”“Right. Children were very useful as miners. They did what they were told. They were small. They were cheap. And they wereexpendable. Who cared what happened deep in the dark of a coal mine?”“Surely , you exaggerate, ““Nope, check the records.”“I do not have time to do that.”“OK, here are some comments by child miners in the 1840’s…part of a British government investigation after a mineaccident that killed children deep in a coal mine.”In the 1840’s the Welsh coal mines were investigated by a British Commission and child labour was reduced as a result. Some of the reports sent thegovernment authorities were very graphic. “I got my head crushed…by a piece of roof falling.” (William Skidmore, aged 9)…”I got my legs crushed sometme snce, which threw me off work some weeks.” (John Reece, aged 14)…”Nearly a year ago there was an accident and most of us were burned. I wascarried home by a man. it hurt very much because the skin was burnt of my face. I couldn’t work for six months.” (Philip Phillips, aged 9)Philip Davies had a horse for company. He was pale and undernourished in appearance. His clothing was worn and ragged. He could not read:-‘I have been driving horses since I was seven but for one year before that I looked after an air door. I would like to go to school but I am too tired as I work for twelve hours.’ Philip Davies, aged 10, Dinas Colliery, RhonddaDrammers pulled their carts by a chain attached at their waist. They worked in the low tunnels between the coal faces and the higher main roadways where horses might be used. The carts weighed about 1½cwt. of coal and had to be dragged a distance of about 50 yards in a height of about 3 feet.“We are doorkeepers in the four-foot level. We leave the house before six each morning and are in the level until seven o’clock and sometimes later. We get 2p a day and our light costs us 2½p a week. Rachel was in a day school and she can read a little. She was run over by a dram a while ago and was home ill a long time, but she has got over it.”Elizabeth Williams, aged 10 and Mary and Rachel Enoch, 11 and 12 respectively, Dowlais Pits, MerthyrHORSESSome horses were abused, more often though horses were loved and well cared for…but all the horses used in coal mines led a trouble filled life. Mine ceilings collapsed on them, picks and shovels cut them, some miners beat them, horses suffered from black lung like the miners, explosions killed them…In 1876, the RSPCA (Royal Society for the prevention of cruelty to animals) urged protection be provided by law. In that year alone there were 71,396 horses working in British mines, 2,999 of them were killed, 10,878 were injured. ““That’ not a horse, Alan…you said horses worked deep int he cola mines…that’s a pony, small one at that“Pit ponies, often Shetlands, and full draught horses such as Clydesdales worked underground…all sizes. Low ceilings favoured small ponies such as that one above. The animal does not look abused…looks loved by those teen age boys. ““Imagine the terror felt by that horse being lowered deep into the cola mine. Folded into a ball and lowered as much as 1,000 feet in mines that had the besthard anthracite coal. Miners tried to rescue the horses in mine disasters but often could not do much(I wish this picture was larger. Here is a boy, perhaps nine or ten years old, sitting in the darkness beside a ventilation door which he had to open and close as cartloads of coal drawn by horses came by Lonely? Scared?) “Not a tough job, right?”“Not tough, I guess, but would you want to sit all alone in the darkness for twelve hours opening and closing the curtain when a horse camp by with a cartload of coal. Lonely, perhaps frightened, perhaps proud to be part of this strange world of adults.” The passageways were not lit. Pit horses soon got to know their way through the mind passage in the absolute darkness. Horses even knew when an eight hour shift was over and then made their way to the underground stables for their supper.“Lots of girls were sent underground in the early years. Working class kids. Pulling cartloads of coal from the coal face where men hacked at the coal or set small explosive charges in hand drilled holes. Some girls pulled big boxes of coal using carts that had no wheels. The use of girls in the mines ended before the use of boys ended. Law eventually prohibited children. ““Any mine owners cheat and use children despite the law.”“Sad to say…many kids still worked underground. Hard for mine owners to resist the attraction of cheap labour…payed children a couple of pence a day…two cents a day. Of course a cent had a lot higher value then. But the pay was never enough for a working man and his children to ever treat the poverty cycle. As the song Sixteen Tons said they ‘owed their soul to the company store’.12 year old John Davies comes up from Rhonda mine carrying his miner’s lantern, lunch bag and jug of water.More than a century later, in 1960, I had an opportunity to visit the Welsh coal fields near Aberdare. I had read ‘How Green Was My Valley’* so had someidea of the difficult life coal miners faced n the past. Only in 1960, however, did I become aware that my great uncle Frank Freeman lived there in aplace called Ysgeborwen. He was a butcher and our meeting was brief, perhaps an hour, but the ambience of that coal valley cannot be forgotten. Some of thecoal ‘pits’ were still operating and I distinctly remember miners coming off shift singing. Singing! Really singing. And I also rememberbeing given a brokeN clay pipe that had been excavated when an old 1840 era coal seam was being converted to an open pit mine. “The old cartswere still down there…scooped them up…that’s where this pipe stem came from. Odd. Pipes and matches were dangerous things tohave in an underground coal mine.”*How Green Was My Valley” made the Welsh coal fields famous. Even became moron picture. The book was thought tobe an accurate history of the brutality of coal mining. years later the book was determined to be fiction. Based on overheardconversations of Welsh families living in London.ALAN SKEOCHOCT. 2018
WHAT IS COAL…WHRE DOES COAL ORIGINATE?
“Did you ever wonder where coal came from?”“Plants … millions of plants I think…sort of hard to believe.”“Really hard to believe…“But true…millions of dead plants over millions of years…plants, mostly giant ferns, from the CarboniferousEra when the earth was warmer and the atmosphere had lots of carbon dioxide….plants love CO2. By chancethick beds of dead plants got trapped under water that was eventually covered with thick bands of mud. Piles of mudwhich became slate and other sedimentary stone…heavy…the heavier the overburden the more those bands ofplants were pressed…pressure so great that the plants became beds of coal. Anthracite coal was the bestkind of hard coal…also buried the deepest …anthracite coal mines are often more than 1,000 feet below the surface.SONGS THEY SANGAhhh. I’m so tired. How long can this go on?
Said if you see me comin’ better step aside
A lot of men didn’t and a lot of men died
I got one fist of iron, and the other of steel
If the right one don’t a get ya then the left one will
I was born one morning when the sun didn’t shine
Picked up my shovel and walked to the line
I hauled 16 tons of number 9 coal
And the straw boss said “Well bless my soul.”
Sixteen tons what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt.
Saint Peter don’t you call me cuz I can’t go.
I owe my soul to the company store.Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen.
Nobody knows my sorrow.
Dark As A Dungeon, song lyrics
Song: Dark As A Dungeon
Lyrics: Merle Travis(1)
Music: Merle Travis
Come all you young fellers, so young and so fine,
And seek not your fortune in the dark, dreary mine.
It will form as a habit and seep in your soul,
‘Til the blood of your veins runs black as the coal.
This song was originally posted on protestsonglyrics.net
Where it’s dark as a dungeon and damp as the dew,
Where the dangers are many and the pleasures are few,
Where the rain never falls and the sun never shines,
It’s dark as a dungeon way down in the mines.
It’s many a man I have seen in my day,
Who lived just to labor his whole life away.
Like a fiend with his dope or a drunkard his wine,
A man must have lust for the lure of the mine.
I hope when I’m gone and the ages do roll,
My body will blacken and form into coal.
Then I’ll look down from the door of my Heavenly home,
And pity the miner a diggin’ my bones.
This song was originally posted on protestsonglyrics.net
The midnight, the morning, the breaking of the day,
Are the same to the miner who labors away.
Where the demons of death often come by surprise,
One slip of the slate and you’re buried alive.
EPISODE 195 JUM MCCARTNEY…AUCTIONEER STORY OF “JACK THE HORSE WHO OWNS A FARM” Auction Sale of Dr. David Richardson, Sept . 8, 2018
EPISODE 195 JIM MCCARTNEY and JACK, THE HORSE WHO OWNS A FARM
Marjorie and I have attended hundreds of auction sales…farm auctions. Episode195 is the story about one of he nicest auctions
we have ever attended. Sept. 8, 2018. The auction on the David Richardson farm. The tone of the auction was upbeat…happy. Which
alam skeochSept. 8, 2018near Peters Corners, Ontario
Jack, the Clydesdale, dominated the auction sale but we didn’t meet him until the next day. This is a happy story. Dr. David and Dorothy Richardson decided tosell their farm and have this auction sale to diminish their pile of ‘this and that’. Much of the this and that had the smell of a Clydesdale. Not the real smell….the mental smell.“Must be hard to sell your horse, David.”“It is and it isn”t”“We are leaving the farm but Jack is staying right here in the stable he has known most of his life.”“How come?”“Simple…the young lady who bought the farm wants Jack…she will be riding him.”“Where is Jack?”“Out in the field…we’ll get him over for you. He likes people.”“Welcome, my name is David Richardson. I retired as a doctor a long time ago…wayback when I fell in love with Clydesdales. Do you want to meet Jack?”“Everything here was new at one time…Let’s get the auction underway.”“What is this? Must be used for processing grain in some way…or maybe a ship porthole?”“I once collected cast iron implement seats. This is my last one. Made into a seat…fine place to sit andwatch the sale…my sale. I am at ease with it because I know Jack is going to stay around.”“Hi Woody, what’s up?”“Just saw the biggest horse I’ve ever seen in my life.”“Did he step on you?”“Nope…just bent over and gave me a nuzzle…says to call him Jack.”“Alan, what did you buy?”“Bought this apple dress…cast iron marking say patented 1872,,,”“Planning to make apple sauce?”“I’ll make it if you’ll eat it…be a little gritty with the dust and ash of a century and a half.”“Must you fill the truck at every suction sale?”“That is the purpose of a truck, Marjorie. The truck would bevery disappointed if it never carried a load.”“But what are you going to do with all this stuff?”“Remember King Tut’s tomb?”“Yes,but…”“Remember when Carter peeped through the first hole and was asked what he say?”“Sure, ‘he said “I see wondrous things…wondrous.”“So what?”“So that is why we buy these things.”“For a tomb?”“No because they are wondrous…WONDROUS.”“What else did you buy?”“Nice old chicken crate for $20, two railway baggage carts, a kitchen table and chairs, and this cement land roller.’“Are you nuts?”“what purpose do you have for that stuff?”“Purpose? Purpose? Does everything in life have to have a purpose.?”“Bought the table and six chairs, Marjorie.”“We already have a table and chairs.”“May need spares some day.”“Rock maple…heavy as all get out. how will we move that table.”“Let me give Andrew a call.”“He must have better things to do than lug your stuff around.”“He never complains.”“See if you can find Woody in this picture;”
“Every farm sale has a bunch of stories.”“Sad stories often”“Afraid so.”“But not this story…no sireee.”“Why?”“Because this is the story of Jack the Clydesdale who really owns the farm…and the people that love him.”alan skeochSept. 2018
EPISODE 194 SPARTACUS….MARJORIE’S HORSE…CAME FROM AN ESTROGEN MARE…A SAD STORY
EPISODE 194 SPARTCUS … HIS MOM WAS AN ESTROGEN MARE WHOSE LIFE WAS GRIM
The Pregnant Mare Urine (PMU) Industry: What you need to know
The Pregnant Mare Urine or PMU Industry produces pharmaceuticals containing the urine of impregnated horses. Many consumers are unaware of the cruel and inhumane treatment these horses often endure. They are routinely impregnated and confined to stalls for the sole purpose of facilitating the collection of their urine. The products are used to treat symptoms of menopause, but the advertising doesn’t mention the source of the ingredients.
Between our Duchess Sanctuary in Oregon and the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Texas, The Fund for Animals is caring for and providing lifetime sanctuary to more than 150 horses saved from the PMU industry.
Read on to learn more about what’s currently happening in the PMU Industry.
A: PMU stands for Pregnant Mare Urine. The hormones in the urine are used to manufacture Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) products for women. The most commonly known drug produced with equine urine is Premarin®, now manufactured by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer (Pfizer purchased Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, the original manufacturer of the drug, in 2009). Other products include Prempro®, Premphase® and the newly approved Duavee®—a combination osteoporosis-menopause drug. In 1990, Premarin® was the most widely prescribed drug in the United States and in 1997 it became Wyeth’s first one billion dollar drug.
Q: How are the horses used?
A: Pregnant mares are often kept in narrow tie stalls for approximately 6 months of the year with a urine collection harness in place. It’s an inhumane life for an animal designed to be in near constant motion. While in theory they have room to lie down, they cannot turn around or take more than a few steps forwards or backwards. In addition to the hardship for the mares, many of the resulting foals end up in the slaughter pipeline because they are considered by-products of this industry.
Q: How many horses are affected?
A: Although the number of mares in PMU barns has decreased significantly from an estimated high of 55-60,000 in the late 1990’s, and there are no farms operating in the United States, right now there are reportedly 2,500 to 3,000 mares on PMU farms in Canada. In addition, Pfizer is now contracting with PMU farms overseas in countries like China, Poland and Kazakhstan.
EPISODE 193 INVERLOCHY CASTLE, SCOTLAND….AND A 40 POUND TIP ($100) AFTER HIGH TEA
A strategic location
The moat that surrounded the castle has long gone but the location at the western end of theGreat Glen and natural defensive postion against the River Lochy gave Inverlochy castle a superior advantage. The old Military Road built by General Wade passed right by the castle and can still be followed back in to Fort William.
Originally dating back to the 13th century, Inverlochy Castle last played a part in Scottish and English history during the Civil Wars of the 1640’s. In 1645 the royalist Earl of Montrose routed the roundhead forces of the Campbell Chief Duke of Argyll at the second Battle of Inverlochy.
EPISODE 192 MOVIE INDUSTRY … WHAT MAKES A MOVIE SEEM REAL
Fwd: EPISODE 191 .ROCKS ARE OUR BEST CROP
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Subject: EPISODE 191 ROCKS ARE OUR BEST CROPEPISODE 187 ROCKS ARE OUR BEST CROP
Jack and Sean were paid for this job.alan skeochmay 2020This is a story about rock picking.
THERE is a very moving film called THE FIELD with Richar Harris as a hardscrabble Irish farmer whose field is all he hasin life. And he is prepared to die to keep his Field. I can identify with him. There are 25 acres on our farm where meh grandparentsmade a living somehow. 7 o 8 acres are swamp or a term used more fashionably the water acres are called a pond. Another 10acres are bush some of which we planted 60 years ago. Red pines…worthless for anything but pulp and hideaway locations forwild Turkeys.There are two acres of sandy loam at the front of the farm but one of our sons decided to plant oaks and maples thereone week-end. Our garden soil disappeared. Now, 20 years later, he is scooping out the trees to be replanted on fancy avenues.Maybe we will get the good land back but I am not holding my breath. I will likely have to rely on My Field behind the swamp.That leaves my two acre field…as seen below. Our best crops are rocks. Every year more rocks…and more rocks.Backbreaking work with a stone boat and pull tractor. Even with the bobcat the rock picking is back breaking.Ten years ago i bought a special hydraulic tractor for Marjorie for her birthday. She has never driven it but I tryto harrow our rock field with it annually. Take a look. These rocks come up every single year.How did our grandparents ever make a living.? Simple answer is they did not make a living. They existed…housewith no indoor plumbing, no electricity, dirt floor basement, lots of small creatures living between the single layer of bricksand the split lath pleasured walls. Hiding place for snakes and mice and bugs.Why send this? Just in case one of you readers longs for the good old days and are thinking of buying a small farm.alan skeochmay 2020
The Big Snapper looked like a rock. She was burying her eggs…