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K am lo o ps

September/October 2012

Fruitful living

How growing our own food can make Kamloops a better place

Teched out?

Parents discover ways to unplug their kids

Hoop dreams

Get ahead of the growing season with a hoophouse


Teacher chalks up classroom success to passion

Homes | History | Food | Arts | People | and More!

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Currents September/October 2012

Editor’s Message

A golden time of year

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he calendar says we have four seasons. For me, however, we really only have two — summer and winter. Spring and fall I consider more transition phases than seasons. Spring blends easily into summer, the line between them made invisible by the bright sun and warm breezes. Likewise, fall becomes winter seamlessly, the point between them blurred by dark days and snow. But the line between winter and spring is often stark and abrupt. One day it’s cold and the next, the world is thawing. Similarly, there is no mistaking fall’s arrival. One weekend it is warm and pleasant and the next, frost is killing the grass, heralded by the plaintiff song of passing Canada geese. I love our transition seasons, and never tire of them. The cold of winter will wear me down, as will August’s endless heat, but spring and fall never last long enough. Perhaps, part of why I love them so much is the fact they signal great times to be outdoors. In the spring, our lakes come alive, making fishing supreme. And the autumn, of course, is hunting season. It is more than that, though. It is the activity of these seasons I find appealing. They are powerful counterpoints to summer and winter, during which it seems we mostly lounge about, waiting for something to happen. Spring is the time when the world is busy dealing with new life. Things are growing and hopeful. Fall is a more serious season, a time for preparation and planning in order to be ready for winter’s desolation. Our children return to school, and with that we are thrown into an accompanying frenzy of activity. And some of us are busy with our gardens, pulling in all that we’ve grown and tended, and readying it for consumption in the months ahead. This issue of Currents pays tribute to the things wonderful about fall. Our cover story is about gardens and harvests. Mo Bradley, pictured on the cover, along with others, share their thoughts about the value of backyard gardens and harvesting our own food instead of relying solely on the agricultural-industrial complex. Gloria Viaud, a charming, veteran kindergarten teacher, shares what makes this time of year special for her, while writer Jennifer Sloan offers parents some advice about kids and their devices and how to best cope. Lastly, I write a little about hunting and the potential lessons it bears to teach our children. Of all the times of the year, this season, this all-too-short transition between summer and winter, is my most favourite, and the stories in this magazine give a hint why. I hope everyone has an enjoyable autumn, as long as it lasts. Trust me, it won’t be long enough. Robert Koopmans is the editor of Currents. He can be reached by email at, or at 250-372-2331.

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September/October 2012



Currents events

K am lo o p s

A sampling of happenings in the Kamloops region September/October 2012


volume 5


Number 4


5 8 12 14 16 18 21 22

Trends: Tackling technology in the family

Parents search for ways to unplug children from their gadgets

Cover Story: Get your hands dirty The road to self-sufficiency can start in the home garden

Food & Drink: Traditional treat Cooking more than about food — it’s also about family

Gardening: Keep your cool in the shade Discover plants that grow well among trees

The Gallery: Don Kitt Works an expression of love for art and nature

Homes: Hoop it up Who needs summer when you’ve got a hoophouse?

On the Fly: Lessons of life and death What does it mean to be human?

Q&A: Back to school The classroom is like a family to one elementary teacher

Catch Currents To catch Currents on the Kamloops Daily News website, go to and click on the Special Publications box. We welcome your story ideas for future issues of Currents. Drop us a line at Currents Magazine is published six times a year by the Special Publications Division of the Kamloops Daily News, 393 Seymour St., Kamloops, BC V2C 6P6. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the publisher’s written permission. Unsolicited material will not be returned and the publisher assumes no responsibility for unsolicited material.

Phone: (250) 372-2331 Currents Contributors Writers: Jennifer Sloan, Krystal Kehoe, Jennifer Muir, Elaine Sedgman, Desiray Fenwick, Robert Koopmans, Sherry Bennett Photographers: Keith Anderson, Krystal Kehoe, Robert Koopmans Publisher Tim Shoults Editor Robert Koopmans, Copy Editor Dan Spark Advertising DIRECTOR Kevin Dergez managEr specialty publications Keshav Sharma, The Daily News is a member of the Canadian Media Circulation Audit, Canadian Newspaper Association, B.C. Community Newspapers Association, and the B.C. Press Council. Published daily except Sundays and most holidays. A division of Glacier Ventures International Corp. Publications Mail Registration No. 0681


Currents September/October 2012

On the Cover:

Mo Bradley says the key to a successful garden is to take pleasure in the work. Photo by Robert Koopmans


WCT’s Where the Blood Mixes Oct. 11 to Oct. 20 Where the Blood Mixes, by Kevin Loring. Starring Lorne Cardinal and Craig Lauzon. Produced in association with Theatre Aquarius and Theatre Network, at the Sagebrush Theatre. Kamloops Royal Ball @ the Colombo Lodge Oct. 12 From 5 to 8:30 p.m. Doors open at 4:45 p.m. Family fundraising event with all proceeds going to the B.C. Wildlife Park. Dinner plus appearances by the Disney Princesses, carriage rides, dance classes, story time and more. Tickets range from $25 to $44. Register online at http:// Kamloops Fall Home Show @ Interior Savings Centre Oct. 19 to Oct. 21 Nitty Gritty Dirt Band @ Kamloops Convention Centre Oct. 23 Proudly presented by Country 103, Kamloops Ford Lincoln and ORA Restaurant Lounge, this iconic band and major influence in the country-rock and American-roots music is coming to Kamloops. Receiving multi-platinum and gold records, as well as a list of top 10 hits over the years, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s iconic status seems to be limitless. Tickets are $60 plus tax available from Kamloops Live! Box Office or Ora Restaurant. WCT’s Where the Wild Things Are Nov. 3 and 4 Where The Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak, adapted by TAG Theatre, Glasgow. Directed by Kim Selody. Join the mischievous Max and his “wild things” in this introduction to drama for young children. An intimate audience size encourages children to actively participate in transforming Max’s room into a wild kingdom. Contact Terri Runnalls (education co-ordinator) at 250-372-3216 ext 22 or to book your school matinee NOW! See wherethewildthingsare.htm for more info. Cesar Millan Live @ Interior Savings Centre Nov. 9 Star of the popular TV show The Dog Whisperer and a New York Times bestselling author. 7:30 p.m. Tickets available through Ticketmaster online. For more events and information, visit





How do you unplug kids from their gadgets? Story By JENNIFER SLOAN


s I sit down to talk with Cyndy Olsen in her Kamloops home, she receives a text from her 21-year-old son Myles. He’s in the other room and is wondering when she’s going to be done. Olsen laughs. She assures me, “I’m not going to answer that,” then turns to 16-year-old Noah, and tells him to go and let Myles know she’s ignoring him. Olsen is a mother of four. Her second son Brock is 18 and her youngest is Paige, 11. Including Olsen’s husband Shayne, the family has 11 personal electronic devices, ranging from smartphones to gaming systems. Sherry Turkle, a psychologist and sociologist, studies how technology affects what people do and who they are. Her most recent book, Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other, argues that web technology creates a false sense of companionship, causing social confusion about what authentic communication and conversation really are. In her words: “We’re lonely, but we’re afraid of intimacy. And so, we’re designing technologies that will give us the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship.” Ben Grant, a computer technician for the Merritt School District, and his wife Sharon, a childcare worker who assists children ages four to 17, agree with Turkle. They don’t think the customized friendships that technology enables are a good thing. ➤

September/October 2012



Says Ben, “You can like that 10 per cent of the person and forget about the other 90 per cent. We are in a true disposable society to the point that your ‘friends’ are disposable. If you don’t like what they have to say, you can delete their comments, or if you don’t like them, you can just delete them. In the real world we can’t just up and delete someone!” Sharon goes on, “Real friendships are forged out of the hard things, not the ‘LOL’ moments or the ‘BRB’ moment. I would rather argue my way through a relationship than have a relationship on text or email. At least then they can feel the love in my face.” Recent research shows that children between eight and 18 years old spend an average of 7½ hours per day on electronic devices. More than 75 per cent of teens own cellphones, and texting has become the preferred form of communication among adolescents. Neither Olsen nor the Grants are naive about the potential effect that technology can have on the social development of their children, or the ways that it can affect family relationships. Sharon states, “We are a family who believes in moderation on a huge scale, even onto the negative side,” and then laughs, “We are SO not popular with our teenagers!” Their strategy in helping their two teens to successfully navigate the electronic world has a few parts. Ben explains: “We make it more difficult for them to get on (the Internet) than it’s worth.” The kids are allotted 30 minutes per day online, and there are a myriad of passwords they have to get through to get where they want to go — passwords only the parents know. Neither of their teens have cellphones, and the parents make sure that every communication they have with their kids is by phone or face. Sharon adds, “We (also) raise them to learn to monitor their own behaviour, (then) we use humour and a real backup of love. I know that other people would handle it differently, but I’m not


Currents September/October 2012

Research shows more than 75 per cent of teens own cellphones, and texting has become the preferred form of communication among adolescents. other people.” In the Olsen home, two laptops are kept in the front room, and after that, the structures are childspecific. Olsen shares, “I don’t do things the same for each of my kids. If a cellphone would cause (Paige) to remove herself from our family relations, it would be gone. If a child in my house would choose to lock themselves in their bedroom, their door would be removed and that goes for their game systems, radios, whatever it might be.” When it comes to etiquette on electronics, Olsen’s teaching for her children has been principlebased. “I taught them early to be respectful and polite and to read others’ social cues. If they are being rude with their cellphone use, it is a symptom of something bigger and a cue for me to open up the verbal lines of communication to find out what’s going on.” Making the time to have these

conversations is key, according to Tyleen Morgan, a youth worker at the Interior Indian Friendship Centre. “Kids need to learn those important communication skills to talk things out appropriately (and) it is up to parents to educate and supervise their kids. You have to make the time; it’s an important piece.” Morgan recommends parents balance device use for their children by scheduling in time for active involvement in the community. Encouraging kids to put down the device and pick up the emotional connection real-world relationships provide takes patience, instruction and support. Perhaps still more important is that parents choose to lead by example. “People need people and children need parents,” Morgan states. “(Showing) balance is necessary to keep sociality and communication alive in our youth.”


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Cover story


of the

backyard gardener I


Food security, self-sufficiency and good old-fashioned healthy living are just some of the reasons behind a growing trend to raise our own produce

t’s a hot, mid-July afternoon in Kamloops and rows of leafy vegetables are sprouting from a well-tended plot that covers the backyard at Chris Whitham and Karen Hutchinson’s downtown home. Nothing much, aside from multiple varieties of Swiss chard, is ready to be pulled from earth or vine just yet. But the anticipation of fall’s harvest, and the canning and conserving that will ensue, is at its peak. The couple’s enthusiasm extends to both the plentiful haul, mere steps from the back deck, and the fact that close friends Cam Skoglund and Jessica Winters have joined the vegetable gardening effort. The foursome pitched in to turn over and replenish the soil and plant rows of carrots, peas, brussels sprouts, beets, cabbage, squash, pumpkins and tomatoes. ➤


Currents September/October 2012

There are even a few artichokes and a separate section for potatoes. An additional herb planter and various hot and savoury peppers at the front and side will provide the added flavours these 20-somethings are planning to use for day-to-day cooking. Inspiration for the joint effort came after a discussion last year about sharing the garden and combining efforts on workload and supplies. Skoglund and Winters, who also live downtown and share an apartment without a yard, say the situation couldn’t be better. “We have herb pots at home, but we can’t have a big garden. We all like to cook and do canning, so this made sense,” says Winters. “Karen and I have known each other since we were little and have been friends for a long time.” Hutchinson and Whitham’s home also has a root cellar and the group plans to store many of its vegetables with hopes of using the produce throughout the winter. Pickling and canning of beets, carrots and other fruits and vegetables also will be part of the program. The learn-asthey-go approach has already inspired improvements for next year’s bounty. “The overall goal is to be a little bit more selfsufficient,” says Whitham, who also hunts and eats bear, deer and grouse. “We all grew Myra Kandemiri and her sons Simba, up with families 13, left, and Kundiso check on their that gardened and canned, so we’ve all tomatoes in the Rotary Community been touched by it.” Garden. Community-initiated gardening It’s the kind of projects increase people’s sense of communal garcommunity and social responsibility, dening situation says Shelaigh Garson, Kamloops’ Shelaigh Garson Community Gardens co-ordinator. celebrates. “People are thinking more today about going back to basics, considering their health and the environment,” says Garson, who is Kamloops’ Community Gardens co-ordinator. “In the past few years, communities and municipalities are taking note and changing the way they plan their community’s sustainability, their policies on pesticide use, nutrition and food security. “It’s been led by grassroots. Groups like the Kamloops Food Policy Council have been going at this for a long time. Now municipalities are starting to be more involved.” Kamloops is a case in point. In addition to homeowners who choose to garden in their own yards, community and communal gardening movements have been gaining momentum over the past several years. ➤

What is Food Security? The World Health Organization defines food security in this way: “When all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life.” (

September/October 2012



“There are many shared gardening concepts in Kamloops (including) edible landscapes, public produce.” — Shelaigh Garson

The first community garden was built on Crestline Street in Brocklehurst almost 20 years ago and another seven have been launched since, all under the day-to-day management of Interior Community Services. Since the City of Kamloops entered into a service agreement with Interior Community Services to manage community gardens in 2009, the number of gardening plots has grown from 134 to 327. Garson knows of several other community-initiated gardening projects involving church groups, seniors communities, non-profit organizations, youth groups and schools. “There are many shared gardening concepts happening in Kamloops (including) edible landscapes, public produce. I’ve even heard of adopt a fruit tree.” Garson, who’s been in her role as the Community Gardens co-ordinator for almost two years, converses with more than 300 Kamloops community gardeners on an ongoing basis, and that’s in addition to many individuals she talks to who are looking for backyard or communal gardening advice. The benefits of community gardening are many, she adds, citing research


Currents September/October 2012

suggesting increased food security also increases people’s sense of community and social responsibility. And, with one of the longest growing seasons in Western Canada and suitable soil in many parts of this city, even first-time gardeners have success. The optimal conditions make longtime residents Mo and Evelyn Bradley wonder why more people don’t do it. In the 41 years the couple has lived in Westsyde, they have almost always had a vegetable garden. In Kamloops, Mo Bradley is most well-known in fly-fishing circles. However, that dedication to detail easily transfers to success in the garden, something he’s been doing since he was a boy growing up in England. Evelyn is equally involved and together they work through the spring and summer months to grow an ample harvest that keeps them supplied through the fall and winter seasons. The selection of vegetables has changed over the years, and it’s now down to what the Bradleys prefer most — a variety of lettuce, beets, Swiss chard, tomatoes, onions, beans and potatoes. The couple divides the work — Evelyn tends the flower beds and is

in charge of keeping the grass neatly cut, while Mo focuses on the planting, watering and picking of the vegetables. Both share the task of keeping weeds at bay. In more recent years, Mo has built a selection of raised beds to plant vegetables, a system he says keeps the soil at a better temperature and eliminates the need for bending down. With only two of them at home, the bounty is shared among neighbours, with one caveat. “We used to grow a lot of zucchini, but people got tired of it,” laughs Evelyn. Mo says the secret to a successful garden is taking pleasure in what you are doing and he swears the plants respond well when you talk to them. His best advice for those starting out — build up the soil based on where you live in town, and ask for help from garden supply stores, other growers at the Kamloops Farmers Market and through community initiatives like Community Gardens and Community Kitchens. The Bradleys’ list of the easiest vegetables to grow in Kamloops includes carrots, beets, tomatoes and potatoes, the last of which need to be relocated in a different spot each year.


olourful, homemade signs with messages that read, “This is your garden” and “Visit the garden with a friend” peek out of raised beds along a quaint walkway at 121 Victoria St. — home to the Kamloops Public Produce Project. Each bed grows edibles such as herbs, berries and leafy greens — all available for people to walk by and help themselves to a taste. Opened to the public earlier this year, the project seeks to promote gardening as an accessible activity for everyone, and demonstrates the power of volunteerism and partnerships. Set in one of downtown’s high-traffic areas, the little oasis shows people what is possible in terms of planting and harvesting in a small but productive space.

workshops and demonstrations with ongoing, free educational opportunities. A similar concept has been repeated at McDonald Park. The Kamloops Community Showcase Garden, dedicated in June, includes several garden beds with a multitude of berry bushes, herbs, greens and even edible flowers that are available for the public to sample. The showcase garden is surrounded by community gardening plots. Eventually, the space could be used to educate people on the merits of gardening and growing food. The Kamloops Community Showcase Garden was sponsored by the City of Kamloops, Communities in Bloom and Scotts Canada. Interior Community Services manages the Community Garden component, while volunteers from the Food Policy Council look after the public produce/educational garden. “It’s still early in the process and volunteer-driven. We want to show people how to grow, how to harvest,” says Garson. “You have to engage people to come and have a look. Once you start talking to them, they tend to be interested.” The garden also includes lesser-known edibles such as honey berry and varieties of Asian greens such as bok choi, as a way to inform and educate people on the abundance of produce that grow well in this region. You can keep up with news on the Kamloops Public Produce Project at http://publicproduceproject.blogspot. ca/ and other Kamloops Community Gardening initiatives, managed through Interior Community Services at http://

Community gardening: ‘This is for everyone’ “Already we see all kinds of people going in,” says Shelaigh Garson, Kamloops Community Gardens co-ordinator, who sat on the committee backing the initiative. “We see business people who work downtown come by on the lunches. . . . This is for everyone.” Over the past year, several organizations and individuals came together to see the project through, including the Kamloops Food Policy Council, Thompson Shuswap Master Gardeners Association and citizen volunteers. Garson notes it's been volunteer time, donation of land, City of Kamloops support to access water, as well as donations of garden and building supplies that have made the initiative a success. Since its launch, the project’s working group has hosted

September/October 2012



Chef Weekend

Cooking creates time for family Story By Krystal Kehoe Photos By Keith Anderson 12


athy Gaynor keeps her family entertained with her eclectic style and her desire to try new recipes. A working mother of two, Gaynor is the library director at Thompson Rivers University. Her daughters, Naomi, 10, and Rachel Silverberg, 13, do not mind trying new things, she said. “I think they’re adventurous eaters,” Gaynor said. “They’ll eat pretty much anything that comes at them.” Gaynor tries a new dish every week or two. Her inspiration is often sparked by an interest in travel. She also gets ideas by talking with friends, browsing through cookbooks and searching online. She likes to use the website, where she can find recipes that contain ingredients she has in the house. ➤

Currents September/October 2012

Food and drink

FUDGE YEAH 3.00x69.0 D001066592 KD16

“I bore easily,” she said. “There’s also a thrill of trying something for the first time and seeing if it will work.” Gaynor’s household is busy with two girls, her boyfriend Todd Leier, and a dog and a cat, but they make time to have dinner as a family. “It’s a time to connect,” she said. It is also important that her girls be handson in the kitchen, so she cooks with them regularly. “I really wanted my girls, when they become grown women, to know how to cook,” she said. Their family atmosphere is light and full of laughter. Naomi volunteered to help chop the bell peppers for the shakshouka and set the table. Shakshouka is a dish Gaynor fell in love with as a teenager, when she travelled to Israel with her mother. It is traditionally a breakfast dish served with pita bread, but Gaynor serves hers for dinner with rice.

Kathy Gaynor found this recipe in an English cookbook when she travelled to Jerusalem as a teenager. • two medium onions, chopped • six garlic cloves, crushed • four tomatoes, diced • two green bell peppers, diced • 1/3 cup of oil • one cup chicken stock • four teaspoons tomato paste • two to five drops Tabasco sauce • 1/3 cup pitted green olives • 1/2 teaspoon salt • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper • 1/4 teaspoon cumin • four to six eggs 1. In a large frying pan or wok, heat oil at medium to high heat and fry onions until golden brown. Add garlic and stir. 2. Add tomatoes and green peppers. Cover the pan and let cook for 10 minutes on medium-high heat. 3. Add chicken stock, tomato paste, Tabasco sauce and olives. Season with salt, pepper and cumin. 4. Turn down heat to just below medium and let cook for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 5. Poach the eggs in the sauce. (Tip: use a large serving spoon or spatula to make a dent in the sauce. Rest the serving spoon against the pan, cracking the egg on the spoon.) Cover the egg with sauce. 6. Cover the pan and cook until the eggs are quite firm. 7. Serve with rice or pita bread

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I’m stuck with a shady lot with many trees? What can I grow?



ook at your shady garden as a positive opportunity. You can grow many beautiful plants that we with sunny gardens can’t. However, I will admit, there are a few daunting challenges such as competition for light, nutrients and water. One of the first things that you can do is to add a bit more light and air circulation to your garden. “Limb up” or prune the lower limbs from your large trees and remove some of the smaller trees. Be vigilant and pull out Pat Cutler’s Rose Hill weedy shrubs and tree seedlings while woodland garden, main they are small. Paint photo, offers a challenge fences a pale colour with its many firs and pines. to reflect light. Above: Epimedium hostas The next thing is a favourite ground cover. to do is add nutrients to your garden, because the roots of those beautiful trees also suck up all the minerals from the soil. Tree roots spread well beyond the drip line (canopy) of the tree. Pat Cutler in Rose Hill has a challenging lot such as this, with many firs and pines. She composts everything from her garden and uses the rough compost as a mulch. You can add up to 20 centimetres of loose organic matter without suffocating tree roots. ➤


Currents September/October 2012

Gardening with Elaine

This mulch also encourages worms and beneficial microbes and helps keep the soil moist. When building your beds, start them 60 to 90 centimetres away from tree trunks. Concentrate on planting pockets between large roots. You must water new plantings thoroughly and deeply. I would recommend a permanent drip irrigation system, but be prepared to hand water precious plants while they are getting established. Light watering will encourage tree roots to come to the surface. Choose plants that are tough, dependable, shade loving and drought tolerant. Shrubs that might work are hydrangea arborescens (Annabelle) and hydrangea paniculata. Both are hardy to Zone 3. They bloom on new wood and are also slightly drought tolerant. The native

The geranium macrorrhizum is a perennial that spreads by its roots. Oregon grape would also be a beautiful choice. Blooming in early spring, it provides food for early flying bees. My favourite ground covers are epimedium rubrum (Red barrenwort), a slowgrowing clump-forming perennial and the bigroot geraniums (geranium macrorrhizum), a semi-evergreen perennial that spreads by

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its roots. Both are hardy to Zone 3. Hostas, however, are the bold queens of shady gardens. There are so many to choose, such as the diminutive edging hostas to the enormous chartreuse Hosta Sum and Substance. They are hardy to Zone 3 and, because of their deep root system, hostas are surpris-

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ingly drought tolerant. Other perennials that shine in the shade are lacy ferns, colourful leaved heucheras, the glossy leaved bergenias and the stardust flowering astrantias. Climbers that you might try are clematis macropetala and alpina. They are fairly drought and shade tolerant, and when established are very hardy. Blooming early, their silvery seed heads provide late-season interest in the garden. Add spring bulbs such as scilla (squill), narcissus (daffodils) and muscari (grape hyacinth), and you will have a colourful threeseason shady garden. Happy gardening! Elaine Sedgman is a certified master gardener and a member of the Master Gardeners Association of B.C. She lives, and gardens, in Sahali. She can be reached at



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The Gallery Under Winter’s Moon

I Don Kit t Story By Desiray Fenwick

f being artistic in one medium is talented, then you need a new adjective to describe local carver Don Kitt of Wildwood Creations. He’s expressed his love of art and nature through watercolour, stained glass, pen and ink drawings, metal and clay, but it was a trip to the Stein Valley in 1995 that awakened his love of carving wood. “When I first started, I would go to Kamloops Lake, see something in a piece of wood and start carving. My inspiration comes from everywhere, I can be working on one project and I get ideas for two more. I start to see people and objects in terms of how they would

look in wood.” Ten years ago, Kitt studied under a professional wood carver for four months. “That enabled me to speed up my carving, and then it became a lot more fun. The more I carve, the more I learn how to make the depth perception even more intense. I’m really meticulous about the detail in my work. I want to create unique and one-of-a-kind art pieces.” Don’s carving Shadow Song features a stained glass insert that he says, “always draws in the crowd.” In 2005 it won the People’s Choice award at the Shuswap Carvers and Woodworkers Show and Sale.

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Currents September/October 2012

Tarmac, below; Yes Ma’am, right


Early Morning

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Orcas Walking Stick, left; Wildfire Full, above

September/October 2012




Homemade hoophouse makes it possible to harvest crops when there’s still snow on the ground


Currents September/October 2012

K hoop dreams Story and photos By Krystal Kehoe

amloops gardeners hoping to extend their growing season can do so with a homemade hoop-style greenhouse, like the one used by local master gardener Jo-Lynn Forbes. It was 10 years ago when Jo-Lynn and her husband Bud decided to design and build their own hoophouse to extend the season on their north-facing property. The hoophouse is conveniently located in the main garden, surrounded by flowers and vegetable crops. It is heated only by natural light. ➤

“Some of the crops that I might lose to frost, I will have for a longer period of time,” Forbes says. The hoophouse was fairly simple to make, and allows Forbes to garden from March through November each year. “I’m passionate about seeds in particular and love to try different ones and see them grow,” she said. “The hoophouse has been really great because I’ve been able to expand my range of trying different varieties.” The structure is built using two-by-sixes as a base frame, which is drilled to accept PVC pipe. It is anchored into the ground using rebar to prevent it from moving. Wood supports are attached across the PVC ribs to help stabilize the house, and the greenhouse plastic is drilled through wooden clips to prevent it from ripping. The hoophouse has both an entry door The hoophouse and a trap door, which Forbes uses to ventilate has been really the house. “I’ve had small cold great because frames, but this is so much nicer because I I’ve been able to can stand up in there,” expand my range Forbes said. “I can use it in the spring with of trying different sawhorses and a table in there. And I can varieties (of seeds).” have flats of plants in there.” Jo-Lynn Forbes Shawn Ulmer, nursery manager at Art Knapp Garden Centre, says that greenhouse plastic is a popular option for people looking for a longer season. She explained that traditional greenhouses are expensive. “There is a limited amount of people who have space for a greenhouse, who can afford it. We’re talking thousands of dollars here,” Ulmer said. But, with greenhouse plastic, gardeners can easily build whatever structure they like and cover it with the plastic. Forbes says the hoophouse is affordable because she does not have a heating bill, and she has never had to replace the greenhouse plastic. Forbes plants directly in the soil. In the fall, she plants cress, coriander, spinach, green onions and extends her basil from outside to inside. She also moves some of her potted crops inside when it cools. She replenishes the soil every spring and fall with compost and aged sheep manure. Forbes covers her cool crops with leaf and straw mulch. In the winter, she puts snow in the hoophouse which melts to water her crops. Come spring, Forbes says she will have crops ready to harvest inside the hoophouse while there is still snow on the ground outside.

Jo-Lynn Forbes operates her trap door using a simple pulley system. The door helps to ventilate the hoophouse and keep it at an ideal temperature of 24 C.

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Labour strife hits the rails By SHERRY BENNETT


labourers in the battle to clean up construction camps. Failing to effect any change through numerous small strikes, on March 27, 1912, the IWW called a general strike. Within days, the entire line from Yale to Kamloops was shut down, prompting 2,500 labourers to desert their jobs and seek new opportunities in Vancouver. With a large local pool of unemployed workers, Canadian Northern had little difficulty recruiting strike breakers, and two weeks into the strike, 150 IWW strikers gathered to make a show of strength to drive off the replacement workers. Met by 65 police constables, the opposing groups faced off on a narrow right-of-way along Kamloops Lake. After ignoring calls to disperse, the strikers

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found themselves staring at locomotive pulling dump cars heading toward them. With the exception of one IWW leader, who was injured by a beam projecting from the train’s engine, all were able to jump to safety. Of the 48 strikers arrested, 36 were convicted of vagrancy and sentenced to three months in jail. The last vestiges of the strikers around Kamloops were moved out by mid-May, after government officials in Victoria ordered all strike camps cleared. While the union brought some positive changes, the strike was quickly forgotten and the workers’ conditions continued to be ignored. Information contained in this article obtained from an essay by John Stewart.

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century ago, with B.C. in the midst of a second great era of railway expansion, 5,000 men stationed at 100 camps worked to build the Canadian Northern Railway north and west of Kamloops. Working within a chaotic system of contracting, the construction of a single section of track could be sub-contracted as many as four times. Contractors were forced to put forward low bids, and sell provisions to workers at high prices in order to turn a profit. This convoluted system had the most adverse effects on the construction workers, largely immigrants from Sweden, Italy, Russia and the Ukraine, who were forced to endure primitive working and living conditions. Working seven days a week for between $1.75 and $2.25 per 10-hour day, labourers were charged $1 a day for board. Up to 60 workers were packed into tents meant for 20. With inadequate sanitary and health facilities, typhoid and diphtheria were rampant. The abominable working conditions created ideal recruiting conditions for the Industrial Workers of the World, a militant socialist union also known as the Wobblies. Founded in the U.S. in 1905, the IWW entered B.C. a year later and by 1911 had recruited 4,500 local railway

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On The Fly Knowledge of what it means to be human important lesson for children to learn Story and photo By Robert Koopmans Sarah Koopmans with her first fish.


very year since she was five, my youngest daughter has asked me to take her hunting. Every year I have obliged, and if she asks me again this year, I will do my best to do so again. We’ve gone for short little jaunts in September, when the weather is good and the afternoons are warm. No early morning trips, nor heavy hikes up steep hillsides. Simple short walks on quiet little forest roads. We’ve seen a few deer, but no legal bucks to shoot. Strangely, never have we seen a grouse when we have hunted together, which means in the end, our hunting trips have largely been hikes. Neither beast nor fowl presented itself. And that means, of course, that my youngest daughter has not seen anything killed. Maybe this year will be different. Not that I relish the idea of my 10-year-old witnessing an animal’s death; I don’t, but neither will I shy away from it. I have told her every time we have gone out what hunting is and what it means if we ever see a critter of the right description. I will pull the trigger, there will be blood, and we will eat something for dinner. Will she be fine with it, if and when it eventually happens? I don’t know. We’ll find out. I can remember the first time I saw an animal die. I was also nine or 10 years old, living on a

farm near Petawawa, Ont., when the farmer who owned the property killed one of his cows for the freezer. He didn’t do it in front of me, although I think he knew I was lingering not far away. He shot it, I think with a .22, then raised it with a chain around its neck by a front-end loader to be gutted and skinned. It was primal and shocking to watch, and its impact on a child profound. I learned then, definitively, where humans get their meat. It’s a lesson so few children learn anymore these days. Some might say, why should children learn the lesson at all? I say, there is value in understanding our species’ impact on the world around us, including what it means to be a predator, a sentient killer, atop the planet’s food chain. Understanding the food chain — really understanding it — makes us less complacent about our behaviour. We have so many egregious behaviours, really, including our ability to waste so much. I think it’s less likely we will be wasteful, however, and more likely we will consciously preserve the beauty around us, if we understand that many acts of human life-giving sustenance start with a lethal one. Interestingly, as I fret how my daughter will react to the sight of an animal or bird being hunted, I realize she has already seen acts of death. We have fished together many times, and she has watched

as trout are bonked and slipped in the cooler. She has never expressed any issue with that deadly display, so why do I think she will act differently — why should she act differently — if a grouse or a buck drops in front of us? There is no difference. A fish is a grouse is a buck is a dog is a flower, and all of them are human. All things living have a place and function, and are as integrally important to the planet or as meaningless, as the next. Humans are no more or less valuable to the Earth than anything else we share it with. We are all along for the ride, on an ancient piece of volcanic rock circling the sun every 365 days. Despite that, humans have the knowledge that how we act as a species has tremendous potential to affect all the others we share this rock with, more so than any of its other inhabitants. As a result, I want my children to know what we choose to do to feed ourselves. I have no idea, really, what watching an animal die to feed us will mean to my daughter, or how it will affect her. I suspect, however, there will be more to be gained than lost in the moment, whenever it happens. Maybe this fall. Robert Koopmans is the editor of Currents. He can be reached at 250-372-2331, or by email at September/October 2012




Back to school A chat with a veteran elementary teacher

Story and photo By Desiray Fenwick


ong before the doors to her Grade 1 classroom open for the first day of school (she has also taught kindergarten at the school for years), dedicated and well-liked Lloyd George elementary teacher Gloria Viaud has been eagerly preparing to welcome her new students. Q. Do you get excited to return to your classroom and students in September? A. Oh yeah, especially because I have got to know a lot of families over the years. It is always very exciting to see a younger brother or sister who is now ready to start school, because I can remember when they were just born! Teaching is a passion. To me I never think of it as work, or that I have to go to my job. In the summer I have to try to keep myself away. With young kids they are so affectionate; I love getting my 20 hugs a day. Q. How do you ensure that your kids get a good start to stay motivated to enjoy school? A. My goal as a teacher is to create a good foundation for learning, where the children get pleasure from their desire to learn. I believe school can fill gaps in children’s lives. I call our classroom a family so that there is a feeling of belonging. It’s so gratifying as a teacher to watch them learn. At this age, everything you show them they think it’s exciting. I love teaching them how to read and write, their language skills just fly. Q. Are any of your personal interests or hobbies reflected in your teaching? A. My love of learning other languages. I’ve learned five languages — English, French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. I like to teach multiculturalism and greetings in other languages. At this age, they are like a sponge and they just soak it up. They get the accent immediately, and when they are at home they correct their parents pronunciation. Q. Is there something you really enjoy doing with the kids every year? A. We do a lot of arts and crafts, and I like


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Grade 1 teacher Gloria Viaud calls her Lloyd George classroom a family. to take advantage of every opportunity that I have to take the children out to visit their surrounding environment. Children learn so much outside of the classroom because they have a fascination with what is around them. Q. Do you have any parent or grandparent helpers involved in your classroom? A. Yes, I greatly encourage it. I have some who come regularly and others who come when they can. I think it’s important for the children to see that their parents are part of their learning experience, and to have someone representing their home. It’s always nice to have another adult helping me out with things around the classroom. Q. Are your students involved with any fundraising or charities? A. Two years ago I had a student initiate a class project to raise money for Smile Train, which helps kids who need cleft-palate surgery. Last year, we teamed up with a group of SKSS students who went to volunteer in Nicaragua. We sent T-shirts and a note from each child to children at a school in an impoverished area. We also visited a warehouse in Kamloops where the children helped sort donated items that would be shipped in containers to Nicaragua. It was an excellent learning experience, and helped the children understand how fortunate they are.


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Currents Fall 2012  
Currents Fall 2012  

A sampling of what is happening in the Kamloops region.