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December 2016/January 2017


From Barn to Studio: New Art in Old Timbers

Save Our Rural Schools

Stone House Collective

Quilter Elsa Knight

Winter Bird Brains

Here’s The SCOOP


SCOOP S Founded in 2005 by Richard Saxe

PUBLISHER & AD SALES Karen Nordrum stonemills.scoop@gmail.com


Jerry Ackerman, Jordan Balson, Jazmin Bansagi, Ron Betchley, Lillian Bufton, Katherine Burrows, Mary Jo Field, Julie Fraser, Glen R. Goodhand, Alyce Gorter, Buffi Hewitt, Robin Hutcheon, Joseph Imre, Kim Kerr, Lena Koch, Cam Mather, Blair McDonald, John Sherbino, Grace Smith, Terry Sprague All photos contributed, unless otherwise noted.

easons come and go. Some vanish before we have time to thoroughly enjoy them, while others linger a bit too long. Still, others drag on, overstay their welcome, and start to get a little tiresome. Benjamin Franklin famously remarked, in his 1736 Poor Richard’s Almanack that “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” Seasons get three months. Past that point, they too start losing their freshness rather quickly. The worst seasonal culprit in these parts is usually winter. Three months of winter is more than enough for all but a few dedicated ice fishermen and the handful of drivers who add a blade to the front of their pickup in November. Few among the rest actually want Punxsatawney Phil to see his shadow come February 2.

Our wish has more or less come true, and this issue of The SCOOP eagerly welcomes the return of winter. Long-

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613.379.5369 stonemills.scoop@gmail.com thescoop.ca facebook.com/thescoop.ca Please write to us at: Stone Mills Scoop 482 Adair Road Tamworth, ON K0K 3G0 The SCOOP is published six times a year. We mail The SCOOP for free to more than 6600 households in Tamworth, Centreville, Enterprise, Erinsville, Camden East, Newburgh, Colebrook, Yarker, Verona, Hartington, Sydenham, Roblin, Selby, Parham, Kaladar, Stella, Godfrey, & Marlbank. We also arrange with local retailers to display 1000 additional issues of The SCOOP in Napanee, Cloyne, Flinton, Kaladar, & many other locations. All rights reserved. No reproduction by any means or any form may be made without prior written consent by the publisher.


Ashley Doucette Pilles and Gabriel Deerman, of Salmon River Studios (salmonriverstudios.com) in Tamworth. Photo by The SCOOP. 2


time contributor Terry Sprague helps us understand one of those winter mysteries, how tiny birds appear to thrive in the cold, when so many of their cousins simply migrate to warmer climes. And what better way to spend winter than to enjoy the work of the many enterprising members of our community covered in this issue, from talented artists, to new farmers, and experienced quilters?

But this year is a little different. Many of us could not wait for this brutally dry summer to end. “Endless Summer” is a good title for romance novels or surf movies, but for anyone who cares for wild plants and animals, and their garden-variety cousins, it spells disaster. Accounts of farmers losing crops or livestock, rivers drying up, and ponds vanishing were all too frequent this past season. The most common wish and prayer was for heaps of moisture, in whatever form, flakes, pellets, or drops, to blanket the landscape and replenish rivers and aquifers. Bring it on, Jack Frost.

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So let’s all wish this winter is a long, snowy affair. Of course, Franklin also noted, “If a man could have half of his wishes, he would double his troubles.” Leaving aside the fact that this applies to women as well, let’s also make it a half-hearted wish.

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The SCOOP • December 2016 / January 2017


Gallery & Shop Manager

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Primrose Craig


Gallery & Shop Manager

Unit #3 3 Dundas Street East Napanee, ON K7R 1N2


Introducing Salmon River Studios Lillian Bufton


ou may have noticed a few new faces in town and some increased activity up on River Road. If so, you just might have met our newest neighbours – Ashley Doucette Pilles, Gabriel Deerman, and their adorable seven-month-old son Sylvan. Having completed four years of teaching art overseas (in Qatar) Ashley and Gabriel have made the big move to Tamworth where they have purchased a farm and are setting up studios for art production, teaching, workshops, artist residencies and for special events. Although new to Tamworth they are not exactly new to the area. Ashley grew up in Napanee and Gabriel has called the area home base for over ten years as Ashley’s family now lives near Verona. Before making the decision to teach overseas, they both earned their teaching degrees at Queen’s but always intended to return to the area and settle down.

generally found in schools. “We enjoy working with children and adults as well as people with special needs,” says Gabriel. “In leaving classroom teaching we are losing the security of working within an established structure – but we are also freer to work in a variety of ways with a variety of groups.” Gabriel went on to explain their first workshop that he hosted in October in collaboration with Toronto-based Akin Projects that combined a traditional landscape painting retreat with a graduate level seminar on art making in this time of dramatic environmental and cultural change. The workshop featured art demonstrations and instruction by Gabriel as well as a presentation by Dr Simon Pope. Dr Pope teaches at OCAD, Transart Institute and represented Wales at the Venice Biennale in 2003, and his work and teaching explores the idea of the Anthropocene and how artist’s ways of working are changing quite literally with the climate.

We talked about this highly academic and contemporary workshop, working with students with Autism, offering Both feel that day trips for schools choosing and retirees… Tamworth has been seemingly the best decision everyone! I really yet as there is so got the idea that much interest in these two the arts and such a genuinely want to dynamic, creative provide arts and welcoming opportunities in a community. “We very inclusive way. couldn’t have And with their found a better fingers on the pulse place to start our Gabriel and Ashley in their large timber of both business and barn, now art studio. contemporary arts family,” Gabriel and educational said about both the best practices, it town and the farm seems like they can. “We are just getting which is nestled on the banks of the settled in here but have hit the ground Salmon River and boasts fifty-two acres running,” says Ashley “and we are so glad of beautiful rolling hills and two barns to be laying down our roots in a place which they have re-purposed as art that has so much energy and enthusiasm. studios and event spaces. We are starting to meet people and feel like we are home – we love it here!” “It has been a lot of work just to get to the point where we are,” says Ashley Gabriel is a painter, printmaker, (who has drywall mud spattered on her draftsman, and installation artist and jeans from the now winterized studio she recently earned a Masters of Fine Art is just finishing renovating “… it’s from the Transart Institute of Plymouth exciting and daunting to know that we University. He will be taking part in New are just getting started”. Seeing the work Leaf Link’s open house on Wednesday, they have done so far in both the all season studio and the large timber barn is indeed exciting and it is clear to see the potential that the spaces offer as venues for creative production, education and events. Hearing them discuss their plans for workshops, private lessons, after school activities, summer camps, art and music festivals and more is impressive and certainly daunting – these two have cut out a lot of work for themselves! But their energy, experience and know-how make this all seem achievable. This is not their first rodeo – they are both graduates of Emily Carr University of Art and Design and worked together in operating art galleries and event venues in Vancouver and Montreal where they provided space for emerging artists. These were labours of love they both agree – but with Salmon River Studios they intend to make a long-term go of it while continuing in the spirit of their previous endeavours – providing arts programming geared towards community enrichment with the addition of an educational focus. Having both gained valuable experience teaching in the classroom they are determined to continue as arts educators but perhaps more broadly than is

The painting, drawing, printmaking, and sculpture studio at Salmon River Studios in Tamworth. December 7 at 11 a.m. at the Harrowsmith Free Methodist Church, and will be introducing Salmon River Studios to the area’s special needs adults.

meet with anyone interested in lessons and are offering sessions throughout the winter in their newly renovated, warm, and cozy studio!

Ashley is a ceramic artist and woodworker and is currently working towards a Masters of Art Education through Boston University.

To learn more please visit salmonriverstudios.com and www.facebook.com/salmonriverstudios or contact ash@salmonriverstudios.com or gabriel@salmonriverstudios.com or phone 613-888-8724.

Both Ashley and Gabriel are eager to

Season’s Greetings Wishing all readers a joyous holiday season, a new year of happiness, and hope for a world at peace. The SCOOP


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December 2016 / January 2017 • The SCOOP


Lessons Learned

The Spirit of Christmas Past

more of what we read online.

Blair McDonald


as there ever been a time where we have lived as dependent on the media as today’s age?

To be clear, by media, we also have to look beyond its traditional forms (radio, TV, and newspapers) to include our new dependence on social media for everything – international news, updates on family and friends as well as the latest in sports and politics. This semester I am teaching a social media class, and one of the key themes for discussion is the nature of truth and reality that comes with our reliance on social media. For example, in today’s media landscape, how can we trust what we read and see on the internet? Further, when citizens have the ability to provide the news, how do we know what is accurate? These questions have started to garner discussions by the mainstream media itself, most recently, in response to alarming reactions across social media to the election of Donald Trump in the US. Mark Zuckerberg, head of Facebook, issued a statement to tackle fake news stories on Facebook, where stories like actor Denzel Washington’s support for Donald Trump to fabricated murdersuicide stories an FBI agent linked to Hilary Clinton’s email scandal, received worldwide media attention before being exposed as entirely made up. Perhaps, we shouldn’t be surprised by this. Rumours have always been part of the media machine. Today, what makes the situation more critical than ever is that now this same information (whether right or wrong) can be spread at lightning speed. Consequently, our engagement with the media is changing with it. As social media analyst and former BBC journalist, Alfred Hermida, reminds us (with a logic that would even stump Socrates): paradoxically, we both trust and mistrust

Ron Betchley

The question remains: How do we combat this? Well, in a certain sense, we all have to become smarter media detectives. Some critics, like Hermida, suggest that the truth is to be found on the trail of “digital breadcrumbs” that any particular story leaves. Going forward, the responsibility is with us as readers, namely, that we have a stronger sense of media literacy. Equally important, however, is the need for leaders of important news and/or social media sites to investigate the credibility of news stories posted on its site. Nonetheless, it would be naïve to think that this situation will improve anytime soon. Unfortunately, with the shadow of misinformation looming in every story, the future of news is truly one of suspicion.

Do you love to write? We’re looking for contributors. Interested? Email us at stonemills.scoop@gmail.com

TAMWORTH & DISTRICT LIONS CLUB We would like to thank the community for their continued support in making it possible for the Lions Club to do the work we do.


I had at my disposal the customary Santa suit and beard which was used at a Saturday night party and which did not have to be returned until the following morning. I arranged with the parents of the children to have them appear at a side window at a designated time when, soon after dark, they would behold the presence of Santa Claus. Although this Santa was somewhat encumbered by a foot-deep snowfall, he made his way through the trees while carrying in one hand a kerosene lantern and in the other, a multi-page ream of paper taken from a computer printer. The light from the lamp was sufficient to illuminate his customary costumed image but wanting in exposing any slips of identity. The long “list,” of course, containing the names of good little girls and boys. On cue, the children came to the window to find Santa approaching through the night holding his lantern high as he sluggishly made his way through the snow in search of this very house. And in what could only be described as an exaggerated theatrical pantomime, assured himself and any who just may have been watching that he had indeed found the right house. Then by the light of his lamp, he turned to scan his long list, searching for the very names of those who at that moment remained unseen but spellbound in the window. With nodding gestures, he assured himself that these names were most certainly on his list, a fact no doubt prompted and confirmed by the narrative of the children’s mother standing with them. His task now complete, Santa’s lantern guided him into the night, exit stage left, seemingly oblivious to the delightful sounds of children hollering his name while knocking on the plate glass window. A most suitable response to this staged performance, one in my estimation equal to that of a standing ovation. Alas, not all Christmases have been so delightful. In my youth, when I was old enough to be part of the family gift “exchange” each Christmas morning, I would attempt to choose and purchase a gift for each member of the family, taking into account what I thought would be most appropriate and appreciated, keeping within my limited budget. But


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s Christmas approaches, and yes, always sooner than one realizes, many memories are hastened, some positive and regrettably those not so. My four score plus years have witnessed many variables of both. No Christmas is as delightful as that when we are young. In many ways, Christmas really is for the young. It was with that thought in mind that one year I endeavoured to bring to life a preChristmas Santa Claus sighting for the very young children who resided next to us, just down the path beyond the pine grove. A Santa visual that hopefully would rival their imagination and dreams.

The SCOOP • December 2016 / January 2017


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not unlike many households, upon completion of the Christmas wrap demolition, some gifts were found left in their original packaging and bundled aside with the intention of exchange, not by cause of size discrepancy but for lack of appreciation. After years of observing this ritual, it occurred to me that I could better utilize my limited budget by making corresponding individual financial donations to the Salvation Army. So I arranged for them to have thank you cards made, one for each family member in whose name the individual but unspecified donation had been made. Even though I no longer lived at home, I was able to attach the addressed envelopes to the tree to be found by each recipient the following Christmas morning. Reaction to the idea of the Salvation Army donation thank you cards was swift, with expressions ranging from disappointment to open hostility. Except for the comical input by my sister Doris, no amount of rational explanation for my gift giving deed would placate the recipients. Not surprisingly, that was my last Christmas participating in the family “exchange.” It was with complete surprise, therefore, that the following Christmas I received via mail a covertly wrapped package. The return address clearly identified the sender to be that of my sister Doris. But even with my anticipation and appreciation of her sense of the absurd, many minutes of hilarious laughter followed my discovery of the contents of her carefully insulated package. For Doris had sent me a most memorable Christmas gift, that of a full-size tambourine.

THANK YOU I am thankful to so many special people for their support in the October 15th “Elsa Knight’s Autumn Quilt Show & Sale” at the Tamworth Hotel. You cannot properly thank those who made such a big difference in the success of a project or fundraiser without mentioning their names: Heidi Lind, Gary McGregor, Teresa Kennedy, Sarah Slack, Connie Wannamaker, Cheryl & Jacob Gaffney, Joan Way, Mary Flunder, Mavis Way, Sheila Way, Marie & Steve Williams, Brian McGrath, Barry Lovegrove, Yvonne Galbraith I hope I have not missed anyone. Also a special thank you to our organizer Lorraine Prue, President of the CWL Erinsville, to Carol Brown and Kevin Hilliker who generously loaned their historic hotel, and to the community friends who turned out to support this event. Also, thank you to all those who contributed to our Tamworth Lion’s Club food drive for the Napanee Salvation Army Food Bank. The day was an incredible success, and our lile community is to be commended for their loyal support. Elsa Knight

It Takes a Village Cam Mather


here’s a great movie based on the book Children of Men by P.D. James about a dystopic future where the population is sterile, and there are no more children around. It reminds me of how wonderful it is to live in a small town with kids and young families. They bring an invigorating energy to a community that would otherwise be populated by just older folk, like me. The talk of closing local schools in Stone Mills is a grave concern to me for this reason. I believe the school board is following a misguided model of centralized “bigness” which I believe may not be an optimal model in the future. The International Energy Agency, the organization that provides information on energy to the OECD developed countries, says we hit “peak conventional oil” in 2005. This is the easy to get out of the ground, cheap stuff. As oil moved to its 2008 high of $145/barrel, some alternative sources like the tar sands and fracked oil became economical to produce. This new supply, along with a sluggish world economy, has dropped oil’s price temporarily, but ultimately it will go up again, potentially significantly, and there may be shortages along the peak oil road. For the school board to be recommending closing local schools and busing students great distances to large, centralized schools make absolutely no sense when we take the future of oil into consideration. While electric car technology is improving, it will not replace oil as the primary source of transportation fuel in the near or foreseeable future. So any savings the board sees in not maintaining local schools will be offset by increasing transportation costs. Long-term this is a flawed strategy. Perhaps it’s time the board convenes some brainstorming sessions with its “customers,” those people in the communities affected by the potential closings, to see if some alternative strategies can be developed. The greatest cost of maintaining a building is heat. Tamworth Elementary

A Walk in the Woods

School uses oil. An elementary school in Bancroft installed a biomass (wood pellet) heater several years ago. Why is the school board not looking at a wood heater for Tamworth to reduce operating costs? It’s a local heating fuel source. And with the future price on carbon to deal with climate change, it will be cheaper over the long haul because it’s carbon neutral. When you burn wood to heat the school, you’ll only be releasing the carbon that the tree stored while it was growing. What better lesson could we teach students than to be carbon neutral and heat with a local resource? Let’s take a couple of days a year and get students out in the bush hauling firewood instead of taking gym class. I’ll donate the first cord of wood for the new heating system. I’ll bet you’ll find lots of individuals who would provide firewood to help maintain the community’s vibrancy with a local elementary school. If labour costs are a great contributing factor to the closings, why not again look to the community to provide help with instruction? Our community has a vast resource of talented and enthusiastic people who could contribute. We have many talented musicians who could provide instruction during music class. Why not ask the “Happy Hockey” crew to teach some Phys. Ed. classes? If Ontario is working from a “common curriculum” where a central authority mandates what must be taught, I’m sure we could find any number of qualified individuals in the community to step in and help. This offers tremendous community building potential. It seems what is lacking is a desire to look at alternatives and try new things. One thing any educational institution must be acutely aware of today is that there is nothing static about the world its students will be graduating into. The greatest lesson we could teach them is to consider alternative ways to look at challenges and come up with creative solutions. The centralized, urban, “big-box store” model of education is not necessarily the best one to provide this creative spark. I would encourage the school board to use this time as an opportunity to redefine some key components of primary education and use the impressive resources of a talented and supportive community to blaze some new trails. Who’s with me?

Jerry Ackerman


he day started with surprise and frustration. A neighbour’s tree had fallen onto the roadway, and no one was home next door to help me remove it. My favourite woodsman niece Alyce appeared, and we went to work. Ken returned from the telephone company with repair for last night’s lightning strike. My own computer was still kaput, so I decided to give my weed patch another round with the rototiller. Nope. Too wet from last night’s storm. Then, the sun came on brightly, and I took that as a signal to respond robustly from my melancholy. I would venture off for a walk in the woods! Fall’s my favourite season, and I knew where the oaks and maples would be showing their best colours. The same area where, back in the 1930s, my dog and I would hunt for cows and bring them home for milking. (No fences in those days, as all the farmable land had to be devoted to winter feed for the livestock, and vegetables for the summer and winter kitchen table.) I wore my rubber boots because I knew that the beavers had invaded long ago, and I would be picking my way over the bedrock and around their ponds and waterways. I hadn’t returned for fifty years, but I had a destination. I wanted to locate that deep round hole in the rock where the Algonquins ground their corn. What a lovely nostalgic experience! The full gorgeous brilliance of the oaks and maples, the beautiful lichens and moss, blueberry bushes, and wintergreen. Mother’s favourite sweet fern, running cedar, and bittersweet berries she used to decorate birch bark Christmas cards she sent to summer tourists, as well as the occasional pile of pine knots and roots that Dad used to collect for boiling down the maple sap. After much lazy lingering, I gave up on finding that special “corn hole “ and tried to follow a deer trail through the trees, around the ponds and over the rocks. I even cleared the path in case some of my city friends would want a more direct walking route. However, I gradually realized something important. Very important. Deer don’t follow very direct routes. The mile-or-so distance I had

come began to expand into kilometres winding off in other directions. I remembered the wind direction, and it was still daylight. I climbed to a higher rock and looked around. Hmm, this looked familiar. There was the massive outcrop of rock with its beautiful moss and lichens. There was another beaver pond. There were those perfectly decorated trees, standing tall. Yes, familiar – too damned familiar. Everything looked exactly familiar, in every direction. And had the slight wind changed direction? Had I become lost in these woods so close to where I used to roam with my dog? Next, it started to rain. I could visualize my rubber boots slipping on these rocks and me falling or breaking an ankle, unable to proceed even if I was certain of my way. Suddenly, a worse fear – a combo of getting lost, getting injured, getting soaked, and with no one having a clue as to where I went or why I wasn’t home in time for supper. Panic city! Trudging around ponds and around rocks (sometimes in circles), I could find no reassurance with the rain clouds obscuring the sun. It does set in the West, doesn’t it? There was the high voltage transmission line! I knew its approximate direction. But why wasn’t it on my incoming route? Or had I just not been paying attention? After many anxious moments, with minutes feeling like hours, the rain let up, and the sun appeared. There – that’s West. Now I knew which direction to break out of my circling. And, sure enough, by trying to ignore the deceptively always familiar surroundings, I followed my nose to the North, found the old, old road through the woods, and got home without anybody noticing my predicament. The overall lessons learned? By all means, take that leisurely walk in the October woods. And, take a GPS with you.

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613-379-2526 December 2016 / January 2017 • The SCOOP


The Trek: Part I (In the Beginning) Alyce Gorter


he only thing I can say in defence of my decision to go is that it seemed like a good idea at the time. After all, my 13-year-old granddaughter was going and, although she has the energy of youth on her side, she is no Olympic athlete. Perhaps it should have started a spark of worry when I hauled my camping gear out of the attic. My son – father of the 13-year-old and coordinator of the expedition – looked it all over. His derisive sneer should have alerted me to possible dangers ahead, but it was like dipping your toe into a pool of cold water and expecting it will warm up the deeper you go. I was still at that hopeful stage. And, although I didn’t know it at the time, I was going deeper. Boy, was I going deeper! Apparently, steel-toed safety boots, even in like-new condition, are not suitable footwear for a three-day hiking trip in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. Who knew? What is required is massive wads of cash that can either be strapped to your feet with duct tape or exchanged at The Handy Emporium For Trekkers for approved hiking boots. And no, my ski pole walking sticks would definitely not suffice. They would have to be replaced with collapsible, antishock, fibreglass trekking poles with carbide tips if I wanted to survive the experience. It seems too that an aluminum-framed backpack in Day-Glo orange could severely damage my ability to keep up with the group… or to be recognized as part of the group. It, too, would have to be replaced. Of the dozen sleeping bags we own, not one was found suitable. Fortunately, The Handy Emporium For Trekkers had one they would trade to me for another significant amount of money. The sleeping pad for underneath my sleeping bag— to protect me from hypothermia and all ground objects less than two inches high— was extra. However, the headlamp was not terribly expensive and, happily, I had a tent that was exactly as needed. The Trip Coordinator took that. Nothing in my wardrobe would be suitable for the unknown autumn conditions of that mountain Mecca. Once again, The Handy Emporium For Trekkers (hereafter referred to as T.H.E.F.T.) came to my rescue. Not only could they clothe me in proper garb but

would be more than happy to do so. One pair of socks cost about as much as what I had paid for socks throughout my lifetime but were deemed a necessity. Then was added a light, filmy sweaterlike garment that weighed as much as thistledown and cost as much as gold. It was made from the wool of exotic sheep that, said the apparently knowledgeable sales clerk, would keep me warm in cold conditions and cool in warm ones. I asked him how it would know. He said another great quality was that it could be worn for weeks without absorbing any body odours. I asked him if they had started to make men’s underwear out of it yet. He said he thought they needed him at the counter. Of course, it would be impossible for me to hike in that environment without a proper hat. Not only would it have to protect me from wind, rain and sun but would need to protect T.H.E.F.T. from at least one more month of bankruptcy. But I wasn’t done yet... It was now time to consider my food and beverages for the trip. In case you’re wondering, a diet of Moon Pies and Gatorade is not recommended for a venture such as this. Yeah, it came as a surprise to me, too. What is recommended is an investment in a water-carrying system called a Platypus or a CamelBak. This allows you to be hooked up to a tube that is connected to a reservoir on your back that can provide you with steady sips of drinking water. That is if you’re strong enough to carry your filled backpack, trekking poles, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, bear can, clothes, food, cooking source, AND a full water tank. Although in looking at it carefully, I’m pretty sure other liquids would work too, which might provide more incentive to carry it. Jus’ sayin’. If you have purchased a LifesuckingStraw or something similar you can continue to safely refill the pack from any mountain stream, beaver pond, or toilet, whichever you encounter first to maintain your supply. I ordered the freeze-dried meals online. Hopefully, they will be delivered before I leave on the trip or I will have to revisit the Moon Pie idea. By now, we were talking about remortgaging the house. It seemed like a small price to pay for the opportunity to spend time in the great outdoors with family members. To be continued in the next issue…


613 379 5146 Thank you for your continued support. Looking forward to seeing familiar and new faces in 2017! 6

The SCOOP • December 2016 / January 2017

The Making of a Hoarder Julie Fraser


hy do so many of us feel a shiver of attachment to that word? “Hoarder” – it actually sounds cute, like a squirrel, or a chipmunk. It seems natural, like a good habit or an excellent survival skill, especially if you were raised by those who survived the Great Depression or the shortages of WWII. Reality TV changed all that. We were suddenly, visually confronted with an inside look at some gravely dysfunctional situations. It’s a good thing the film crews were on location to capture this phenomenon or it might have gone unnoticed. Exposure of extreme cases of hoarding became mainstream. Labelling people with mental disorders and calling for interventions was common. Calling out a hoarder empowered some to feel like civic heroes; that is until they realized they were standing near the workload. Careful, there might be one living near you. Luckily this public hyperbole has subsided, and judgment is more commonly contained to the Court of the Kitchen Table, where we comfortably sit and point fingers at each other claiming to be less of a hoarder than (fill in the blank). The truth is, our throwaway society keeps changing the game on us and old belongings do pile up. It’s not our fault. It is one feat to change an attitude of society; it is quite another to recondition generations of frugal behaviour and emergency preparedness, engrained by a history of hard life lessons. While lightheartedly labelling some as hoarders, remember, it can bear a sense of shame for elders who come from an era when accumulation was a measure of a person’s security. Compound that with all the new regulations, by-laws, and rules thwarting waste disposal, and there my friends, is a mental logjam for many senior citizens who end up using their console-cabinet stereo as a bookshelf. Let’s take Christmas lights for example, ‘tis the season after all. Just when you believed you had all the beautiful, colourful Christmas lights you could possibly need to illuminate the warm charm of your dwelling, you suddenly learn the ones you have are no good for the environment; and they should all be replaced by a newer, more energy efficient light. FYI, your neighbours can judge your environmental stewardship by the colour of your display, the new bulbs have a slightly different hue… just sayin’. With so much pressure to keep up, what choices do we have?

Well, here is one choice; release the valuables. Turn your belongings into cash while you have the chance, and while you’re at it, help your parents do so too. Use this window of opportunity to turn liabilities into assets. Downsizing is a growing enterprise that is driving new competition, and with that, comes a new demand for our old stuff. We see an increased demand for metals of all grades, scrap metals, old tools, even the copper within electrical wire. Silver, not plated, maintains a stable value; bowls, shakers, ladles, cutlery, and old coins are wanted for their melt weight, if not more valuable in bid. What about gold jewellery, or brass door knockers and other fixtures that might be hiding in the barn, garage, or basement? How about those old guns that you would rather not have around anymore? Hunting stores are often equipped to buy used guns at a fair market value because of their registration, and some will also buy antique weapons. It’s certainly worth a phone call to investigate. Better still, if you have a computer and internet access, Google some simple questions like; “who buys (name your item) near (your location), ON”, and you will be astonished at the options you have. You can also research your coin values this way to educate yourself before making a deal. There is a multitude of household items that we walk past or around daily without a second thought. Out of sight out of mind, either because they are neatly stored away, or camouflaged by their familiarity, but these items could bring you real value. So this holiday season, when you are putting away the gifts you have received and start packing up your decorations, reach in and uncover some of those hidden valuables. Start small with just a few items and work your way into this new era of exchange. Maybe you will only get $30 with the first deal you make; it’s still a free pizza. The next deal might be $300, and the next $3000; like most experiences in life, it gets easier, and you get better. Wishing YOU a happy and prosperous New Year!

Friends of the Napanee River MEETING Saturday, January 2 10 a.m. – 12 noon All are welcome. Please join us at Ellena’s Café (upper floor), 16 Dundas St. E, Napanee. Contact Lawrence at lawrenceok@icloud.com for more information.

The Strange Properties of Snow It drapes the branches, swags the limbs, and only falls it seems when I’m beneath. It feeds the streams and skiers dreams, drifts and seeps, swirls and creeps through parka folds and into boots. — John Sherbino Hartington, ON

Save Our Schools Robin Hutcheon


ast May, the future of the schools in Stone Mills Township was brought into question. The Limestone District School Board was presented with a report that included recommendations to close Yarker Family School in 2017 and to proceed with closures in Tamworth, Selby, Newburgh, Enterprise, and Centreville after the 2017/18 school year. Six months later there seems little question – if nothing is done, each of these rural schools will be shut down in the next two or three years. Yarker’s students will be sent to Odessa, and the rest of the K-6 students will be sent to a new school to be built somewhere north of the 401 (there is no reason to count on it being in Centreville). All Grades 7-8 students will be bussed to the high school. The exception is Selby, where students will be bussed to Prince Charles in Napanee. Sound like a good plan? The school board is currently conducting a pupil accommodation review (PAR) with a view to close Yarker and send those students to Odessa Public School.

There are policies and procedures to follow and a committee to form and bureaucracy to penetrate. In the past, the review committee would examine the impact on a school’s community and on the economic development in the surrounding area. This is no longer the case. In 2015 the Ministry released new guidelines for school boards to follow in the review process, removing any consideration of community or economic development impact in a school closure decision. It has become a game of numbers – shifting children around to fill seats so that school buildings can be “right-sized” and efficiently utilized. In this case, the “right size” means at least two classrooms per grade and efficient utilization means using over 100% of a school’s capacity. Unfortunately, Yarker is a very small school with two classrooms for all grades and due to a recent addition, has a seemingly low utilization rate. It’s an easy fix in their case – close the school and bus the youngest children in the community to Odessa. It is, of course, every parent’s goal to have their four-year-old on a bus for two hours a day, which should

certainly optimize their learning capacity. Never mind that Yarker’s Grade 3s scored 100% at or above the provincial average in their last round of EQAO testing. Students from Yarker may continue to score that well at Odessa but in a school three or four times the size, who will notice? On the bright side (or not) we are not alone. This process is happening all over Ontario, threatening over 40 schools across the province the majority of which are in rural areas. In the Limestone Board, if their plan continues unabated, 11 schools will be closed in the next five years, and all rural students will be bussed to the nearest urban centre for their education. The impact of closing a school in any community can be farreaching, but in a rural area, it can be the final blow that puts an end to that community for good. Unfortunately, the Limestone Board has no policy for rural schools and therefore no way of differentiating the needs of a rural school from those of an urban one. It is a “one-size-fits-all” process, to build more and more “one-size-fits-all” schools, that



Since 2001 we have diverted all our greywater from our washing machine and bath to a tank, whence it’s pumped to the toilet for each flush. The only toilet

• November 30 – Public meeting • December 8 & January 24 – Working meetings • March 7 – Public meeting • March 21 – Working meeting • May 10 – Public delegations meeting • The Board will make its decision regarding Yarker Family School at their May 17 board meeting. Information regarding the PAR is available on the Board’s website, and our local trustee is Wes Garrod. Contact details for all the trustees are also found on the site. Call them, email them, fax them, and talk to other parents and community members. Come to a public meeting, join a Facebook page (Rural Schools Matter, Ontario Alliance Against School Closures, etc.), follow the tweets – stay informed.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

26B Richmond Blvd., Napanee 613 354 6400

[In response to the “Much Ado About Water” article that ran in the October/ November 2016 issue of The SCOOP...] in 2001, a UN report said 40% of the drinking water in the world is squandered in flushing toilets. To us, this was equivalent to using Louis XIV furniture for firewood. In my office, I was guided by a pasted-up epigram: “Somebody said it couldn’t be done, so I didn’t even try.” So we tried. And it worked – far better than we had expected.

If this is not what you envisioned for your child(ren) or your community, there are ways to have your voice heard. There is strength in numbers, and small, rural schools have been saved before. All meetings in the PAR process are open to the public for observation, two are designated specifically to gather input from the public, and one is held to receive public delegations. The meeting dates are as follows:

If you would like more information or would like to get involved in helping to keep our rural schools open, contact Robin Hutcheon at whurldpeas@gmail. com. Rural schools matter!

Wishing everyone a


is decidedly anti-rural.

The SCOOP looks forward to reading all your letters! Please send your letters to: stonemills.scoop@gmail.com mod required was some tweaking of the ballcock to increase the flow rate about 800% to accommodate the change to the low pressure/high flow situation. This isn’t rocket surgery – it’s all eminently inexpensive and doable, as we’ve demonstrated. The problem is that we’ve never found any “green” organization, including David Suzuki and Maude Barlow, to be the least bit interested.

From our family to yours May you all enjoy your Christmas Season and all of the best for 2017!

It appears Will Rogers was right: “Everybody likes progress; it’s change they can’t handle.” Glen Pearce Cloyne, ON

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December 2016 / January 2017 • The SCOOP


A Natural View Bird Brains Work Better Than Ours in Winter Terry Sprague


t is still quite dark when I put on my jacket and head out through the kitchen door every morning to top up the bird feeders and the heated birdbath. On the eastern horizon, there is a very faint hint that sunrise is not far away, but dark enough that I still need my LED headlamp to avoid colliding with the multitude of bird feeders that dangle from the tree branches. Entering the bird feed area, I swing my head, focusing my light in the direction of the large area that I have cleared under the feeders. Incredibly, at this early hour, there are tiny, dark figures moving about on the ground. Tree sparrows! They are the first to arrive at our feeders in the morning, often before there is any light at all, and among the very last to leave the feeders at night. In the sub-Arctic tundra, where these birds typically nest, this is an important attribute, as they have evolved to take advantage of every precious fragment of light they can find. The mourning doves come early too, but it is the tree sparrows that amaze me the most as they grope about on the ground for the feed I have just scattered. Do they have any problems with the extreme cold we occasionally experience during the winter? Not in the least. Provided they can find food, tree sparrows, and everything else out there, seem to make out just fine. What about their feet? Well, most birds have thermostats in their legs that control circulation to their feet, allowing only a minimal flow to prevent freezing, thus conserving precious heat and directing it to other parts of the body where it is needed more. Others though do have problems. Some just can’t seem to get the hang of winter living. While we tend to think of mourning doves as a winter fixture in our area now, it wasn’t always that way. The presence of mourning doves here in the winter has become a common thing only in the last 50 years or so as they are tempted from migrating by an abundance of food, such as unharvested corn fields. However, they simply aren’t built for our winters, often suffering from frost damage to their feet. It is not unusual to see doves with toes badly curled, or lacking toes altogether! They may need another hundred years or so to adapt. Perhaps our Carolina Wren will adapt too, a southern species that is very sensitive to cold, but stubbornly

expanding its range northwards. Populations of this delightful species whose bubbly song is more common in southern Ontario, tend to build during mild winters, then plummet again if we experience a severe winter. This population never seems to get a toehold, but what a delightful addition to our winter bird population if it ever does. Unlike other wren species, only the male sings, and sing he does right through the winter months as though to rebuff the rigours of winter. For the most part, though, birds are well adapted to come through frigid temperatures in fine shape. Some of those that arrive from the far north are darker in colour since darker colours absorb heat. Remember your physics lessons? It has to do with the different wavelengths of light. All light that is not reflected is absorbed. Because light causes heat, dark colours, which absorb more light than lighter colours, are warmer than lighter colours. Does this explain why blue jays at our feeders in winter – suspected migrants from farther north – appear darker? Perhaps so although bird banders argue that northern populations are indistinguishable from our local breeding populations. Perhaps the blue contrasting with the white of winter tricks us into believing what may not be true. Conversely, purple martin houses in summer are painted white to reflect heat. Birds in the north also have shorter extremities to prevent heat from leaking out. Look at the short stubby beak of the redpoll when they appear again in winter, compared to the beaks of other seed-eating birds, more common to our area. When the temperature drops, birds can increase their insulation by fluffing their feathers to expand the layer of warmer trapped air between the feathers and their bodies. That is why birdbaths are especially busy in the winter because birds know they must keep these feathers meticulously clean and lovingly preened to protect the insulating properties. For birds to function, though, they must have an adequate supply of fuel to stoke their tiny furnaces. Cold weather burns fuel, so birds tend to be more active during sub-zero temperatures. Our feeders reflect this, busier on cold days, but the tempo slowing during periods of mild weather. Redpolls that bombard us some winters are miracles in engineering. During those few precious daylight hours in the north, redpolls eat voraciously and store excess seeds into a sort of false crop – its

Common Redpoll. Photo by Sydney Smith. diverticula, if you want the technical term. When darkness falls, they retire to a secluded and protected spot out of the wind, and consume the seeds at their leisure. They have other adaptations too, including longer winter feathers than most birds their size, and a heavier coat. They also can burrow in the snow, huddling together in the snow shelter to reduce heat loss. Amazing little critters, given their size. The reason we very seldom see grey jays this far south is due to their amazing ability to survive in the cold extremes of Algonquin Park by caching their food, something they start doing very early in

the season. Thousands of tiny crevices are utilized in the forest, and a grey jay will remember each and every one of them, weeks later. So, the next time someone refers to you as a “birdbrain,” run right over and give them a big hug as a sign of gratitude. You have just been paid one of the highest compliments! For more information on birding and nature, check out the NatureStuff website at naturestuff.net. Terry Sprague lives in Prince Edward County and is selfemployed as a professional interpretive naturalist.

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Annual Candlelight Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


Memorial Service Sunday, December 4 at 7:30 p.m. 3050 Rutledge Road Sydenham, ON K0H 2T0 613-376-3618 www.sydvets.com

The SCOOP • December 2016 / January 2017

at the Hannah Funeral Home in Tamworth We would like to extend a warm invitation for you to attend our fourth annual Candlelight Memorial Service. A time of refreshment and friendship will follow. This service will offer a warm and thoughtful tribute in honour of those who have gone before us and remain close to our hearts. Each person will be remembered by lighting a candle and their name announced. We are inviting family members we have served here in the last year (Nov. 1, 2015 - Oct. 31, 2016), and a welcome is extended to our community. The service will feature beautiful live seasonal music with a special memorial message from Rev. Barbara Mahood and Rev. Frank Hamper and refreshments to follow. We hope this will provide you comfort and peace.

Bet the Farm: Part I Joseph Imre and Jazmin Bansagi


hat if I told you about a couple with little or no experience with the farming industry, farm machinery, planting, organic vegetables – let alone running a business. Your first piece of advice would be to buy a farm, right? Probably not. Yet that is precisely what my wife and I did in 2014. We purchased a 70-acre farm just north of Napanee, Ontario (half way between Belleville and Kingston, and roughly 2.5 hours northeast of Toronto). To put 70 acres into perspective imagine 70 football fields lined side-by-side 3 across and approximately 24 deep. Needless to say, we have a lot of room to make mistakes, and even more room to grow. The vision for us is simple: build a farm that employs organic principles and utilizes sustainable approaches to farming that protects the land and its environment. While that mission statement looks great on a business plan the realities of farming have already presented some unique challenges, including capital investments such as tractors, outbuildings, equipment, etc. What is the one ace up our sleeves? Time. Becoming land owners at a young age will afford us the necessary time to build our farm and the business in tandem. Let’s hope that all the hay bales align. Fingers crossed! I imagine you may be conjuring Grant Wood’s American Gothic painting when asked to think about what a farming couple might look like. While my hair may indeed be thinning out (and greying at an alarming rate), my fiancé and I have become consumed with excitement to become the next generation of young farmers. Sadly, Wood’s image is not altogether unrepresentative. The average age of a farmer in Canada between 1991 and 2011 was 54 years of age (Census 2011). Our neighbours to the south are pushing upwards of 60 years old on average. This number is expected to rise which is a sobering statistic for the future of farming in this country. Millions of

acres of farmland will be sold or transferred over the next decade. Greater demands for farm-fresh and/or organically sourced food, rising land values, and a noticeable migration of youth from rural to urban settings is both a warning and a call to action. Therefore owning a little piece of green paradise among Ontario’s vast agricultural landscape feels uniquely special.

Seek, and ye shall find Our long journey to purchasing a farm took us across the province over a period of approximately six months. We scoured real estate ads, local listings, and begged for word-of-mouth advice at farmer’s markets and county fairs. Our research and chemistry backgrounds came in handy as we examined areas of interest, perused soil surveys, water quality reports, and land values. I won’t even begin to tell you how many freshly-baked pies we made or bought to butter-up the locals, real estate agents, sellers and neighbouring farmers. I take partial responsibility for contributing to growing diabetes rates in the areas we visited. Ultimately, having met an elderly couple just north of Napanee near to the town of Enterprise (you have to love that great name), we settled on a 70-acre farm with a history dating back to 1878. The transaction was very symbolic of the growing need among ageing farmers to transfer farms to the next generation. We certainly have a deep respect for farmers and feel a real sense of responsibility as the new stewards of our little slice of the country. Lennox and Addington County, where our farm is located, traditionally has more affordable land values than other parts of the province. High-quality farmland sells for approximately $6,500 to $7,500 per acre, while land of a more modest quality sells for around $4,500 per acre, depending on how much of it is worked (i.e. tilled and utilized for crops). Land more suitable for hobby farms has sold for $1,500 per acre and lower

Seven Fields Farm & Orchard’s table at their first Farmers’ Market in late October. depending on features like lakefront views, river frontage, paved roads, proximity to towns, etc. The fertile soils of southwestern Ontario make land financially unattainable for many new farmers, and so our choice of eastern Ontario was based on a practical realization of property values, budget limitations, and a desire for a sizable plot of land that offered us room to grow and thrive. As a point of comparison, prime farmland around Stratford can sell at upwards of $30,000 per acre.

The path to environmental and financial sustainability Purchasing a farm was a huge leap of faith. We knew the rewards could be great but that the work involved was a long-term commitment. We also knew that a viable farm needed to be selfsustainable in a means to lower costs. While we build the foundation of the farm over the next few years, we have partnered with a Toronto-based solar panel company to install solar panels that feed energy back into the provincial grid and provide us with steady monthly income. Having installed the solar panels, the income now covers the cost associated with property tax and all maintenance (i.e. fence repair, tree

cutting, road maintenance, etc.). We have also leased out portions of our 40 acres of tillable fields to neighbouring farmers for cattle grazing, small yield crops, and hay – giving us much need additional income to build and expand the farm. Those savings will allow us to put aside some extra funds to build a new barn and begin construction on an organic vegetable garden next year. In Part II (which will run in the next issue) we will discuss some other ways in which we subsidized the cost of starting and running the farm by partnering with Forests Ontario, a provincial initiative with a mission to plant 50 million trees across the province by 2025. We will also share a humorous animal encounter we had at the farm, and some advice for those looking to start or buy a farm. Joseph and Jazmin are the owners of Seven Fields Farm & Orchard in Enterprise, Ontario. You can reach them through their website at www.7fieldsfarm.com and on Twitter at @7fieldsfarm.

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December 2016 / January 2017 • The SCOOP


Meet Elsa Knight Buffi Hewitt


lsa Knight was born in Trenton, but her quilting adventures began while spending as much time as possible at her Gramma Teskey’s farm in Croydon. Her quilting experience began around 1948. She remembers the quilt set up in an upstairs bedroom, with a few of the neighbour women assisting in “quilting bees.” There was always lemonade, and the days were hazy and warm. In those days, people quilted out of necessity. For many people today, it has become a hobby or business. Elsa made her first quilt from scraps in 1975, and it is still in good shape and continues to be used by family and friends when they come to visit. After retiring and having more free time, her quilting has turned into a small business from home. She teaches some classes, repairs antique quilts, creates new ones, does custom designs and patterns, and sells patterns and quilts too. Every day is a quilting, sewing, or designing day. For her, it is as important as eating – almost! Family and friends have been a great encouragement, and have been the lucky recipients of many of her beautiful quilts. One accomplishment that she’s especially proud of is her charity work. She designed and made an African quilt which she donated to the Stephen Lewis Foundation as a fundraiser for AIDS in Africa. She has also donated quilts for display for fundraising and has given more than twenty quilts to various charities. Every time she donates a quilt, she makes a separate block so that one day there will be a large quilt of these blocks with the history of each quilt. This “Charity Quilt” is a work in progress and was on display recently at the quilt show & sale sponsored by the Catholic Women’s League (CWL) of the Church of The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Erinsville, held at the Tamworth Hotel in October. “Elsa Knight’s Quilt Show” was an awesome quilt show with over 150 coming from as far away as Alberta, Niagara on the Lake, Colbourne, Port Perry, and many surrounding communities. The CWL ladies and many special people helped make this day a huge success. A wide variety of door prizes were donated, including the use of the excellent venue for the event. The quilt show raised $1100, and the CWL will use the money they raised to pay for members to attend the Kingston Diocesan CWL convention in May 2017 and also to donate to needy charity organizations.

Elsa with her huge “Piecemaker’s Houses” quilt, which is totally hand done: appliqués, embroidery, embellishments, door knobs, flowers, and leaves. Photo by The SCOOP.



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PREPARING FOR THE FINANCIAL COLLAPSE 2 hour Talk & Discussion Thursday, January 26 7:00 p.m. Tamworth Community Hall Your opportunity to hear advice from a financial analyst, management consultant to farmers, businesses, university students, and investors for 50 years.

Elsa’s “Charity Quilt” on display at the October show. Photo by The SCOOP. 10

The SCOOP • December 2016 / January 2017

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Winter Snapshots Kim Kerr


he photographs say it all in this edition of “A Peek in the Vault.” Winter is coming…

ET-242: Tobogganing, 1916, McPherson’s Farm, Ernestown, 7 Concession. Fred Brown Photograph Collection, L&A County Archives. th

SW-1-51: “Big Swamp,” 1897. This 19th-century horse-drawn cutter was the best mode of transportation on winter roads at the time. Buffalo robes were a sure way to keep the cold at bay. L&A County Archives Photograph Collection.

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N-00645: Members of the Napanee Snowshoe Club, 1885. LAHS Photograph Collection, L&A County Archives.

Let Them Live Mary Joe Field


et them all live – the good, the bad and the ugly – all the flowers and bugs in our gardens and wild places. There is a purpose for each, a reason why they look and act as they do. That, essentially, was the message to an audience at a gathering sponsored by Tamworth-Erinsville GrassRoots Growers on the stormy evening of October 27. “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” was the title of the presentation and the speaker was Dr. Michael Runtz, one of Canada’s most highly respected naturalists and a professor at Carleton University in Ottawa where more than 40,000 students have taken his course on natural history. A dynamic and passionate speaker, Dr. Runtz is also a highly skilled photographer who impressed the audience with colourful and amazingly detailed pictures of plants and insects in our area. Some of the photographs showed flowers

as we see them, followed by the same flowers as an insect might see them. Bulls’ eyes, glistening hairs and landing platforms invisible to the human eye were revealed by Dr. Runtz’s use of specialized equipment and ultraviolet filters, and we learned how these markings and structures guide insects to the sweet spots for feeding and, in the process, pollination. Flowers reflect ultra-violet light, which we cannot see, but insects, including butterflies, can. Because of this, even flowers we see as insignificant and dull-coloured attract the pollinators the plants need to produce fruit and seed. The interaction and coevolution of insects and plants were highlighted in the presentation. For instance, our lovely provincial flower, the trillium, is dependent on the lowly ant for distributing its seeds. Each trillium seed has an edible band called a strophiole that ants love. They carry the seed underground to their nest and eat this band – their reward – but not the seed,

leaving it in a spot favourable for germination. One of Dr. Runtz’s main points was that nature takes its own course and we needn’t interfere as much as we often do. Do you remember the panics about purple loosestrife and zebra mussels? Both now seem to have calmed down as natural predators locate and thrive in their presence, bringing about some measure of control irrespective of human efforts. Really, there is no bad or ugly. All of nature is beautiful; we just need to see it, understand it and let it live. After the presentation, refreshments prepared by Marilyn McGrath were served, and there was a free seed exchange. Most of the audience lingered to chat, pour over the seed packets, and generally enjoy themselves before heading back out into the badly needed rain. Tamworth-Erinsville GrassRoots Growers would like to thank Dr. Runtz for a lively

and fascinating evening. And thank you to St. Patrick School, to Myles Finn for his assistance with setting up, to all who attended, and especially to those who so generously donated at the door to help fund the ongoing activities and presentations of the GRG.

Santa Claus Parade Watch for us in the Tamworth Santa Claus Parade on Sunday, December 4. We’ll be the ones handing out local apples to the crowd. Tamworth/Erinsville GrassRoots Growers is a community-based group. Our mission is to encourage interest in local and organic gardening for both the home garden and the market garden; to raise awareness of issues surrounding food production; to improve our practical knowledge of all aspects of plant life; and to provide networking opportunities for gardeners. We welcome new members. Visit our website at te-grassrootsgrowers. weebly.com.

December 2016 / January 2017 • The SCOOP


Do You Remember: Young Canada Night? Glen R. Goodhand


n December 22, 1934, during the era of the nine-team NHL (the Ottawa Senators, Montreal Marrons, and New York Americans complimented the “Original 6” contingents at that time), the first Christmas special was promoted as “Hockey’s Santa Claus night for the kiddies.” The regular sale of tickets to the public was changed to “each (ticket) subscriber is entitled to one free child’s ticket he subscribes to.” It is estimated that 5,000 youngsters made their way through the turnstiles of Maple Leaf Gardens that evening to watch the hometown sextet skate to a scoreless draw with the Chicago Blackhawks. With the passing of time that offer was altered to “one free child’s ticket for every two subscriber’s admissions”. But it was still a good deal, and, on average, some 4,000 kids lapped up the opportunity to see their favourites ply their trade against all comers. A particularly heart-warming story relates to one of those free admissions. An unnamed Hamilton man, not having children of his own, brought a young neighbour with him whose father was out of work. Because the seats were in different sections, he gave the lad the ticket stub, 25 cents for a programme, and some spending money. As the second period got underway, the young

fan finally tracked down his benefactor and proudly indicated that his programme held a winning number, which had gleaned him a $45 overcoat. His face was fairly glowing as he announced that this would be his Christmas present for his unemployed dad. Quite a bargain for 25 cents, to say nothing of the satisfaction it brought to the generous donor. By 1936, an adaption to the accompanying radio broadcasts was to have tremendous historical significance. On that December 21, Foster Hewitt included his 8-year-old son, Bill, in the play-by-play. For a few minutes, his soprano voice haltingly described the ebb and flow of the game between the Leafs and the visiting New York Americans. That evening his young son by-passed the eerie trip along the catwalk to the gondola, as his dad tied a rope around his waist and swung him down to this lofty vantage point. This columnist well remembers listening to his stillhesitant description of the Young Canada Night match in 1947.

In 1949, a new wrinkle was added to the programming. Bill, who by then was a sportscaster with CKBB in Barrie, once more called a portion of the Christmas Eve contest between the Leafs and Boston. But during the first intermission, the sons of other well-known shinny personalities took over the discussions, commonly held by press and radio types, called the “Hot Stove League”. Wes McKnight’s son, Greg, Jim Coleman’s boy D’Allan, Hap Day’s Kerry, and Lionel Conacher Jr. analyzed the rather disappointing results of the 8-4 info@topsyfarms.com Toronto loss that topsyfarms.com was developing at

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The Big Picture Jordan Balson


omething that I’m personally awful at is looking at the big picture, and not worrying about the little things. Sure, I’ll picture a dream job, but then all I can see are all of the little tasks along the way, every quiz that I have to study for, and every obstacle that could possibly stand in my way. It’s difficult to be an optimist when your ultimate goal seems terribly daunting. This might even discourage you enough to abandon your goal or dream job for something easier. But you don’t have to change your goals or who you want to be, and you don’t have to convince yourself to settle for something less, whether it be a job, education, or a goal weight; you just have to change your perspective. This is particularly the case with January coming up, and all of our New Year’s resolutions. First, I know it’s hard, but you have to remember that nothing happens overnight. Results aren’t instantaneous, but it’s discouraging when you’re working so hard, and nothing seems to happen. You just have to remember that things take time and to not get worked up if nothing has changed within a week. Set a realistic goal for yourself, whether it’s to lose 10 lbs in a month or to bring your average up 5% by


the end of the semester. It’s good to make sure that you’re moving in the right direction, but you also have to be patient and realize that results take time. Additionally—and this is probably what I struggle with the most—you have to not let yourself get overwhelmed by little things along the way. One quiz won’t ruin your average, one class won’t get you kicked out of school, one test won’t affect the job you’ve always wanted, and one cookie won’t ruin your weight loss. Your progress is more than just one thing, and just like how one thing won’t achieve your goal, one thing won’t ruin it. You just have to breathe in deeply and not let yourself get stressed out by little details. Although you should try hard in everything you do, you can’t let yourself become so stressed that it affects your mental health. And even if something does go poorly, you can’t let that discourage you or let that affect the next step in your goal. You’re still on track for whatever you put your mind to, and you can still be great tomorrow even if today is bad. Take a minute to breathe and face the next day with all that you can while keeping yourself sane, and remember that it’s all about perspective.

The SCOOP • December 2016 / January 2017

ice level. However, probably more fuss surrounded one development during the game than any other Garden’s seasonal youth night. Goalie Walter “Turk” Broda was a fan favourite, especially with the younger set in the Queen City. After the eighth puck had bulged the twine behind the beleaguered netminder, Coach Hap Day replaced him with Al Rollins. Criticism of the move came from every side. To spectators, it was an insult to this hard-working team member to be yanked because of the squad’s failures. (Actually, it was probably the bench boss’ intent to save him further embarrassment). Typical of the “fabulous fat man’s” nonchalant approach to his trade, whenever he made a glaring error of any kind, he simply said the remedy was to “learn to be a centre player!” The Maple Leaf Hockey Club, unlike most NHL teams, refrained from giving even the most accomplished stars a “night.” But, perhaps as an apology for being “hooked” that night, two years later they broke their own rule and honoured him in this unique fashion. As he received some unique gifts, including a car, and the old fiddle tune “Turkey in the Straw” piped him into the spotlight. On December 20, 1958, a new $100,000 organ made its debut in the “house that Conn built.” Most red-blooded youth of today would choke at the comment made by one newspaper following that Yuletide evening: “The new pipe organ

delighted the radio audience and the many kids in attendance for Young Canada Night.” On December 22, 1962, 26 years after Bill Hewitt made his broadcasting debut, his son, Bruce, also aged eight, became the third generation Hewitt to call an NHL game on national radio. Yours truly remembers the valiant attempt by Bruce to follow in his Dad’s and Grandfather’s footsteps. But he did not pan out as a “voice of hockey”. Brian McFarlane interviewed him on HNIC in 1966, and at that time the lad confessed he was disinterested in both hockey and broadcasting. Toronto Star columnist Bill Drylie grumbled after the grandson’s debut: “I’d say people are entitled to hear, within one lifetime, somebody besides a Hewitt describe a Maple Leaf game!” Well, he got his wish. And the Hewitts and Young Canada Night are just a memory.

Solution to the crossword puzzle on page 14:

A Special Friendship Lena Koch


og is rising from the river. The field looks frosty, and the marshland is decorated with spider webs. Early risers can see all the beauty of nature in this area of Stone Mills Township and other surrounding townships. Dog owners are in general early risers, walking their dogs in the morning. Most of the dog owners here know each other, and their dogs play together full of energy after their nightly rest. Many of the dogs have become friends, like Wicket and Panda. Often these two would walk the trail together, and one day Panda invited Wicket to come visit his home to meet his other friend Garfield. Garfield is not a dog, but a large marmalade cat who appeared a few years ago out of nowhere in Yarker. After wandering for a whole summer around the village in search of a place to stay, he ended up in Panda’s home. Garfield is a special cat and can be overprotective of his loved ones. One time, he defended Panda against a fox. Another time, bystanders watched him deliberately sit on the road between a

kitten and a fox in the field, eventually chasing the fox away. Inviting Wicket to meet Garfield was special for Panda. He wanted all of his friends to get along. However, he forgot that Wicket is a dog and that most dogs chase cats. Wicket and Panda came up the road together and approached Panda’s home. Garfield was in the driveway, waiting for Panda to return from his daily trail walk. He saw Wicket and decided to ignore him. Then Wicket spotted Garfield and started to get ready for a good old cat chase… However, he got the surprise of his life when Garfield didn’t run. He took one look at Wicket and decided to show him who was the boss of this territory, which he had defended many times against foxes, coyotes, and other cats and dogs. Garfield’s hair stood on end, his back arched, and he hissed and snarled. He stood his ground, and it looked as if he might even jump on Wicket any second.

Panda, Wicket, and Garfield, an unlikely trio of friends in Yarker. Photo by Lena Koch. Wicket was stunned and looked confused. He had never seen a cat behave this way. Why wasn’t this cat running? Cats were supposed to run from dogs. Panda just stood by, then went to Wicket,


Now, they respect each other by sitting nicely together and waiting for the treats or food each of them gets as a reward for behaving so nicely. Who knows, this year they may even get something nice from Santa for being such good friends. And Santa will be here soon enough – Merry Christmas everyone!

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Dinner and a Movie Grace Smith


ue the festive music, the dazzling lights, the holiday cheer, and… the Kraft Dinner?

The holiday season has become my favourite time of the year over the last decade. As I grow older, I’ve come to appreciate this season more than ever. Even with the dropping temperatures, I can’t help but get all warm and fuzzy as we get closer and closer to Christmas time. It’s the season for giving and helping others. And for me, it’s also a time to celebrate family. And what better way to do that than to carry out a few family traditions. We’ve got some classic traditions. Things that almost everyone does around this time of year. But that doesn’t make them any less special. Saturdays spent baking endless holiday goodies: fudges, cookies, squares, and more. A fun but hectic evening spent tree decorating—that’s what happens when eight people have been collecting decorations over the years. A Christmas Eve full of stockings and appetizers. And watching the local Santa Claus parade from the front step armed with mittens and hot chocolate. But now I want to focus on some of our quirky traditions. Ones that have just emerged over the last few years. Last year, my family and I were able to bring our love of Star Wars and the holiday season together as The Force Awakens hit theatres right before the big day. That meant R2-D2 sugar cookies, Darth Vader Christmas sweaters, and Star Wars themed gifts galore.

And this will continue this year with Rogue One, the new Star Wars movie, following the same pattern. Good thing too, otherwise that Darth Vader sweater might seem a little silly.

gave him a gentle nudge, and did the same to Garfield. Garfield stopped hissing, and Wicket decided to follow Panda’s lead up the driveway. All three went up to the house to get some food. Wicket tried Garfield’s food and liked it. Garfield didn’t mind, because he sometimes ate dog food too. That day, no one knew if these two new acquaintances would ever really warm up to each other, but the second time Wicket came for a visit, they decided to be friends after all.


But my favourite new tradition to emerge in recent years involves the aforementioned cheesy goodness. It started by chance. We were sitting around one cozy evening, scouring the TV for Christmas movies. We settled on Home Alone. Dinner time was approaching and Kevin’s Christmas Eve meal provided us with inspiration. We all chowed down on a creamy, cheesy bowl of Kraft Dinner. It’s such a small tradition compared to others. Nothing fancy, just a classic Christmas movie and a couple boxes of KD. But both inspire a sense of comfort and take us back to a simpler time. It shows that you don’t have to go all out all the time to enjoy Christmas time. It’s something that most can afford during a time when money might be tight. Home Alone and Kraft Dinner is just simply the perfect “dinner and a movie” combo for the holiday season. And a tradition that I plan to continue for a long time. This year we’ll have to make sure we say a little prayer like Kevin, with our goblets of milk at the ready. After all, Kevin does say it best: “Bless this highly nutritious microwavable macaroni and cheese dinner and the people who sold it on sale. Amen.”

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Congratulations to this year’s winners: Dave Freeman • BIGGEST BUCK • 223 lbs Fred Lafferton • BIGGEST DOE • 147 lbs December 2016 / January 2017 • The SCOOP


Puzzle Page Crossword: Continental Congress by Matt Gaffney

December Maze

Word Search: A Christmas Carol



The SCOOP • December 2016 / January 2017

Cornerstone of the Community Katherine Burrows

refreshments and support.

s I pull up to the four corners in Camden East on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m., Stone House Collective owner/curator, Veronica Shaver, is just putting out her sidewalk sign. As always, I am struck by the incredible beauty of the historic limestone building at 2558 County Road 4, which houses the recently opened retail space.

I am drawn in by Veronica’s genuine surprise at “how well the idea has been received. Surreal is the best word. I didn’t know that we would find so many local artists. I put out the call for artists on Facebook in mid-July, and by September 1st we were full,” she continues with an open smile and admits she already has some regular customers. Word is spreading. “People have come from as far as Toronto and Ottawa, have told their friends and the friends have come shopping too.”


Veronica warmly welcomes me as I enter the store and walk across the beautiful hardwood floor. Various display areas are set up around the room to showcase the local creations. It is hard to know where to look first. I introduce myself, and we sit at a small table under one of the large windows with our hot beverages of choice and autumn leaves floating by just outside the glass. She sets aside her knitting to chat. She tells me that she lives near Varty Lake and is originally from the Verona area. The married mother of four confides that she has always “really liked” Camden East and considers it an ideal location to complement nearby Tamworth and Newburgh to create a local business hub. “It’s a friendly community,” she describes of the Stone Mills area, “and very pretty anywhere you drive.” I admire Veronica’s philosophy of “boosting other local businesses.” She invites other local business owners to leave their cards on a table just inside her door, and when conversing with customers never hesitates to recommend another location she feels would be of interest. With her involvement in the Stone Mills Marketplace, organized by Diane Giberson, Veronica enjoys exchanging ideas and support with her local entrepreneurial colleagues. For her grand opening, McCormick’s Country Store, a long-standing local business, supplied

Although Veronica has run her own online sweater shop for two years, this is her first “bricks and mortar business,” which she finds has been easier to get off the ground because people can see it as they drive by and can “touch the items and see the colours” when stopping in. “When I get an idea in my head, there’s no stopping me,” she confesses. Her gregarious nature is evident as she explains, “everything about the store is inspiring.” She loves the colours and textures and being able to make her own gifts. Her stock includes art, bath and body products, clothing and accessories, jewellery, dolls, furniture, ceramics, wood gifts and needlework of many types. Surrounded by such a variety of quality hand-made items, that inspiration is contagious. As we chat, a woman enters the store and then just stops. She gazes around for almost a full minute, rapt, before noticing us. Veronica does not believe in pressuring customers to buy. Instead, she likes to ask them how they are doing and if they are from the area. She encourages people to stop by to visit because she believes these relationships build community.

as I wander around taking some photos. Although I try to give them privacy, I can’t help but notice the easy respect and close collaboration between the two. I imagine that this type of working relationship extends to her other vendors as well. Veronica’s vision includes seeing the rest of the limestone building fill up with other businesses, including a possible cafe and another retail outlet. She is eager to see the community continue to grow. The Stone House Collective will host a Christmas Party on Wednesday, November 30 from 6-8 p.m. with tree lighting, treats, and Christmas cheer. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.

Other upcoming events include workshops (starting with watercolours in November), vendor events, and fibre nights – a time to gather with a current project and knit/crochet/stitch together. For current information and events, visit the website thestonehousecollective. weebly.com or Facebook page at facebook.com/stonehousecollective. It is easy to see that Veronica’s creativity, energy, and positive outlook will be an integral part of the Stone House Collective’s future successes. She is an ideal ambassador for the artists who can now focus their time on what they do best – a win-win situation that is fast becoming a cornerstone of the Stone Mills community.

Shortly after that, a vendor comes in with some new stock and a present of cookies for Veronica. They talk business

The Stone House Collective Artisans • Kroeze Homestead (bath & body) • Crossroad Creations (repurposed furniture) • Lyndsay Lawson (artist) • Sandpiper Handcraft (purses) • Bram D’Hoest (hand-carved woodworking) • Sacred Hammer (wood jewellery) • Stringing Home Decor Galore (string art) • Loop De Lulu Dolls (dolls) • Silver Wares (jewellery from spoons, forks, etc.) • Peppermint Lane (repurposed found objects)

Veronica Shaver, owner of the Stone House Collective in Camden East, amid some of the local, artisanal items available for sale. Photo by Katherine Burrows.

• Rhi-Creations Studio & Spa (repurposed found objects) • Carolyn’s Quilts (quilts) • East Creation (crochet) • Song Line Flowing (aboriginal art) • Canadian Renovations (free hanging mantles) • The Treasure Shed (wood clocks and wall plaques) • Irene Tiffe (knitting) • Iza Ceramics (ceramics) • Greenwood Art (artist) • Theresa Latham (artist) • The Sheep Shelf (sheep’s milk soaps and body products)

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December 2016 / January 2017 • The SCOOP


Bring Home the Feeling of Christmas

May the Christmas Season fill your home with joy, your heart with love and your life with laughter!

Merry Christmas!

All clients & customers, your business through the year has been sincerely appreciated.



Robert Storring & Gwynne Storring Broker




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The SCOOP • December 2016 / January 2017

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The SCOOP // December 2016 / January 2017  

The SCOOP is an independent community newsmagazine. Since 2005, we have been covering rural life in the Ontario area north of the 401 and so...

The SCOOP // December 2016 / January 2017  

The SCOOP is an independent community newsmagazine. Since 2005, we have been covering rural life in the Ontario area north of the 401 and so...