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CINDY DAY: From Colchester County to Cuba

I came across this vintage John Deere cultivator on the third generation farm I visited while in Cuba. It had been dry but the sweet potato and corn fields in the background look great!
I came across this vintage John Deere cultivator on the third generation farm I visited while in Cuba. It had been dry but the sweet potato and corn fields in the background look great! - Cindy Day

A day doesn’t go by without someone asking me if I miss being on TV. I can’t say that I do. Print gives me the opportunity to reach out and get to know you in a more personal way – and you share so much in return.

The other day this post came from Darrell Guy Beaver, in response to a recent column:

“I was just looking at your piece in today’s Herald about your visit to Cuba. I have a small bit of interest in Cuba but have never been there nor do I expect to…

“Back in the days when oil was discovered in Alberta, much was found near Edmonton on two farms that were owned by two brothers. They were George and Ainsley Faulkner. When the oil companies bought them out, Ainsley remained in Alberta and George was hired by Fidel Castro to teach some Cubans more about farming. He was pleased to go and spent the rest of his life there (also buried there). These brothers were really Nova Scotians and part of my family tree – being my grandfather’s brothers.”

Isn’t that something!

Mr. Faulkner was born March 16, 1874 in the small town of Economy, in Colchester County, N.S. He married Eleanor on Aug. 24, 1903 and they had 15 children. He passed away in Cuba on Nov. 12, 1970.

Mr. Faulkner’s story is a very interesting one. When he arrived in Cuba, at Castro’s request, he noticed that the cattle from Canada were not doing well; they were not giving much milk and they were very thin. He believed there was something lacking in their diet. Mr. Faulkner came to realize that the Cubans were not very successful in growing clover. He convinced them to switch to alfalfa – which they could cut 10 times a year. Production shot up!

Mr. Faulkner was also known for teaching the Cubans animal husbandry; they were spending tons of money bringing in new cattle but didn’t know how to properly care for them. Healthy herds were soon forthcoming.

I wondered if the third-generation farmer I had the pleasure of speaking within Cuba – while his parents rocked in the shade by the house he had built for them – had been friends with Mr. Faulkner.

The six degrees of separation: it’s the idea that all people are six or fewer, social connections away from each other. It really is a small world!

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Have a weather question, photo or drawing to share with Cindy Day? Email weathermail@weatherbyday.ca

Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network. 

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