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April / May 2018

Walking the Land

Providence Family Farm

Ontario Species at Risk

From the Ground Up

Straw Bale Home Building

The SCOOP Has Landed


SCOOP F Founded in 2005 by Richard Saxe


CONTRIBUTORS Ron Betchley, Katherine Burrows, Barb Cronin, Dianne Dowling, Glen Goodhand, Alyce Gorter, Joseph Imre, Blair McDonald, Meela MelnikProud, Marcella Neely, Angela

ew things are more valuable in human affairs than land. This may seem like a truism (ok, it is a truism), yet the vast majority of us live nowhere close to the land, in a very literal way. Modern urbanites have little to no contact with the ground: they live in apartment buildings, travel in various air-conditioned vehicles, and spend more time looking at telephone screens than anything even loosely associated with soil. And even those of us fortunate to live closer to the land live very similar lives (minus apartment buildings). But we still yearn for a closer connection with “the land,” wishing to get back to it, live off it, or simply spend more time on it. Much of that yearning is inevitably romanticized, but that’s probably still better than bingeing on streamed entertainment or comparison shopping for the newest wall-sized plasma television.

Our good fortune here in Scoopland is to be able to actually enjoy the land, and to share each other’s experiences with the many facets of this mythic natural world. Stories about bountiful agriculture and sustainable farming? We have that. Accounts of a wonderful nature preserve complete with gorgeous pictures? Check. Discussion of how best to preserve our beautiful wildlife? Look no further. And of course, much, much more. Since the next best thing to being on the land is reading about it, we know you will enjoy reading this issue as much as we did putting it together. Our next issue will focus on the creatures who can freely soar above the land: birds. If you have stories, pictures, illustrations, poems, manifestos, or anything else bird-related worth publishing in these fine pages, we’ll be delighted to consider it.

CALLING ALL PHOTOGRAPHERS AND ARTISTS! Do you have what it takes to be published in The SCOOP? Send us your best photos and artwork documenting rural life in our area:

Peterson-Hatch, Susan Rehner, Terry Sprague, Sandy Youmans All photos contributed, unless otherwise noted.

HOW TO CONTACT US 613.379.5369 Please write to us at: Stone Mills Scoop 482 Adair Road Tamworth, ON K0K 3G0

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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.

COVER Terry Sprague leads a guided hike along the boardwalk at the Menzel Nature Reserve. Photo by Ken Kingdon. 2

The SCOOP • April / May 2018

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APRIL: by chance or appointment MAY: Saturday & Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. (other times by chance or appointment) On MAY 26 the annual

Tamworth Lions Yard Sale & Electronic Waste Collection will take place inside the Tamworth Arena starting at 8 a.m. with over 60 tables worth of items. We will also be collecting old clothes for recycling. Refreshments will also be available. Please mark this date on your calendar.

Do you love to write? We’re looking for contributors.

Beaver Lake Swim Program Is Back! Barb Cronin


e have organized a group of volunteers to create the Beaver Lake Swim Program, which began the summer of 2013. We have found that there is a keen interest in having swimming lessons at Beaver Lake to compensate for losing swim programs at the Napanee Pool and Varty Lake. As concerned parents and grandparents of this community, our goal is to reduce drownings and water-related injuries so that our residents and children will be safer in, on, and around water. Living around so many lakes and water systems, it is an absolute necessity to have this life-saving skill. We will run this program from Neville’s Point. We have all new equipment and will hire two to four instructors depending on our registration. Our instructors are Red Cross certified with all certifications required to teach. We decided on one-week increments, as we know how busy everyone gets in the summer. We will offer morning and afternoon lessons finishing with the required number of hours by the end of the one-week session. Lessons will run from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. OR 1 p.m.-4 p.m. You can decide during registration and we will try our best to accommodate.

Volunteers can sign up at registration.

Program dates this summer: July 9 – 13 July 16 – 20 July 23 – 27 July 30 – Aug 3 Aug 7 – 11 (Tuesday to Saturday) August 13 – 17 We will charge $75 per child per week and $65 per each additional child in the same family per week. If you wish to register your child for another session, we will charge $65 per child for the second week. We will take registrations until May 31. Any registration received after June 1 will cost an additional $20 per child. Please bring your child’s last swimming lesson certificate, if possible. Children must be 5 years old as of the first day of lessons to participate.

Registration dates/time and locations: Sat April 21, 9 – 3 p.m. @ Centreville Hall Sat. May 26, 10 – 2 p.m. @ Tamworth Fire Hall Email:


Interested? Email us at:

Colleen Martin-Fabius 613-379-5959

Mon-Tue 10am-6pm • Wed-Fri 9am-6pm • Sat 9am-noon

Congratulations to the Stone Mills Atom Sabres Angela Peterson-Hatch


indsight is twenty-twenty, but when many of the Stone Mills Atom players registered for their season of minor hockey, it’s doubtful any of them predicted the success that lay ahead. From their first game, the chemistry between the returning players and the rookies eager to contribute was clear. As the season continued, a real team effort became their recipe for success. A five-game winning streak led to an eight, that carried on to a ten, and as the Sabres meshed as a team they continued to be rewarded. Fair playing time was the coaching staff ’s method, and the belief that every player brought something of value to every shift was exhibited from the first game until the final game. As momentum built through the season, it became the topic of discussion for players in the dressing room, and a carrot of motivation for the coaching staff. An undefeated season was within their grasp. However, as the Atom Sabres improved, so did their competition and

there were some very talented teams in their way. Napanee, Loyalist, and Prince Edward County were all teams that, on the right day, could steal the Sabres’ thunder. With the final whistle of the regular season and the parents finally exhaling, the Sabres celebrated a 22-0-1 record. Undefeated after twenty-two hardfought battles, this team now craved a bigger prize. An eight-game round-robin playoff schedule lay ahead for the Atoms, and as they pushed through, success continued albeit with moments (and even periods) of concern. However, the Sabres persevered, showed their camaraderie, and blazed through the playoffs. The table was now set for a winner-take-all championship final game. Adversity and suspense make Canadians watch hockey, and white knuckles on mezzanine railings and opinionated commentary from the stands go with the territory. This well-attended championship game had both. When the dust settled after three neck-to-neck periods, overtime was needed to decide a champion. As the clock ticked closer to

Coaching Staff: Kevin McLaughlin (Coach), Brett Horner (Asst. Coach), Andy Slack (Asst. Coach), Sanford Hatch (Trainer), Shawn Monk (Trainer), Christine Woodcock (Manager), Nolan Hatch (Goaltending Mentor). Atom Sabres:Dayton Birdsell, Cash Harrington, Brody Hatch, Jake Horner, James Howlett, Ryan Howlett, Jonathan Huyck, Ethan Kouri, Kaiden McLaughlin, Dominic Monk, Mackenzie Pichie, Mason Pichie, Owen Rankin, Mya Slack, Rippley Webster, Tanner Woodcock. the end of a five minute overtime period, and the dreaded shoot-out competition became closer to reality, a crafty wellplaced shot from just inside the blue line beat a screened Prince Edward County goaltender – and sent the Atom Stone Mills Sabres (along with their fans) into a frenzied celebration. The Atom Stone Mills Sabres celebrate

the title of Inter-Community Hockey League (ICHL) champs – and an impressive final 31-0-1 record, undefeated for the entire season. The 16-player roster consisted of boys and girls aged 9 and 10, which included a first-time goaltender and five rookie players. Congratulations Sabres!

April / May 2018 • The SCOOP


To Every Thing, There Is a Season—Like Taking a Cruise Ron Betchley


e have just returned from a cruise aboard a P&O ship, the Azura. Although we had been on many cruises on many cruise lines, this was our first cruise with P&O of the UK. Most of their cruises begin in Southampton, a distance that creates a financial difficulty in getting aboard. But what caught our eye this time was that we could join them for a cruise of the Caribbean in boarding them in Barbados. And so we did just that. As far as we could determine, we were the only Canadians aboard, the passengers mostly being British. Previous cruises included nationalities of many countries but primarily those of the USA. For anyone who knows the Brits well or has watched the Netflix program, Very British Problems, our embarkation would have been of interest. For all the foibles and difficulties that had been suggested, none seem to apply. Politeness reigned. Sociability reigned. Plus we, being a national anomaly, were considered of some interest. Being first generation Canadians, our parents who hailed from Britain passed on to us customs and expressions of their youth. So there was a familiarity in much of what we experienced. Conversation in many and

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various accents, which can be difficult to grasp, soon sounded familiar. Of the many activities scheduled aboard, “The Great British Sail Away” tweaked fond memories, those of long ago when I was transferred to the West Coast. News of a P&O ship’s “sail away” from Vancouver spread around town and, not being familiar with either the term or the activity, I joined what turned out to be a very large crowd down on the docks. Facing the starboard side of the ship were large wooden grandstands that filled quickly, luckily ourselves included, and long before the ceremony, whatever it was intended to be, finally started. There were dignitaries, there was a brass band, flags to beat the band, there was a multitude of people and there were paper streamers, thousands and thousands of paper streamers. The gist seemed to have the passengers tie the ship to the dock. They were presented with the rolled streamers, and then holding one end, threw the roll towards the dock. This created intertwining lines connecting the dock to their ship bedecked with a countless number of Union Jack flags. The band struck up familiar tunes, one after another, until the ship’s whistle blasted the signal it was time for them to begin their journey to the Orient. People waved, blew kisses, cried, and threw even more banding streamers. Even passengers who had no one to see them off visually connected with

SAVE THE DATE! Stone Mills 4th Annual


strangers who waved back gesturing that they have a good journey. As the ship pulled away from the dock pulling and stretching the streamers beyond their strength they finally, reluctantly let go in a forlorn snapping sound. The band then struck up the iconic theme song of Vera Lynn, “We’ll Meet Again” and even though many in the stands had no connection to these departing passengers at all, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

away so long ago returned, for I felt I was now experiencing a bit of history, my history, for as much as I cherish the citizenship of my beloved country, Canada, I remain but one generation removed from these wonderful people. To touch one’s roots in this manner has been a wonderful experience, one I shall always remember and hopefully repeat.

Now, that all happened over half a century ago and with today’s environmental stipulations paper streamers could no longer be allowed. Plus the frequency of a sail away is such that one could attend any number all year long. So we wondered what our ship had in mind when they announced the day that “The Great British Sail Away” was to occur.

Cloyne & District Historical Society � COMING EVENTS �

On that day, we found the upper decks covered in Union Jack festoons while each passenger received the handheld union flag. Pimm’s was the order of the day and everyone was in a festive mood. Familiar if somewhat older songs were sung and then, everyone joined in with “Jerusalem” as the ship slowly left the deserted port behind in search of our next island. With all the gusto they could muster, there followed a mass waving of flags as they sang, no, bellowed their beloved “Land of Hope and Glory.” The party atmosphere was jovial and everyone was having a wonderful time. But the emotions of that original sail

Monday, April 16 at 1:00 p.m. in the Cloyne Hall (across from the post office). We will present an interesting account of the 19th-century transport system that joined Mazinaw and Pringle Lakes. Steve Manders, a geographic historian, has searched the tramway and discovered relics. Everyone is welcome. Saturday, May 19 at 9:00 a.m. Mammoth Yard Sale at the Cloyne Hall. Gently used items are welcome and can be dropped off at the hall on Friday, April 18 between 9:00 a.m. and noon. Monday, May 21 at 1:00 p.m. at the Cloyne Hall. We invite everyone to join us and share memories of the Kaladar Hotel.

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Saturday & Sunday, April 28 & 29 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Browse and choose from our great selection of bare root trees & shrubs.


Saturday & Sunday, May 5 & 6 Great buys on over-sized & leftover trees & shrubs. CASH PAYMENT

900 Napanee Road, Marlbank, ON K0K 2L0 4

The SCOOP • April / May 2018


Home-cooked food • Lottery machine Silk flower arrangements • Newspapers Headstone flowers • And much more!

OPEN 7 Days a Week 613-379-2202

STONE MILLS TOWNSHIP FIRE ADVISORY LINE Residents are responsible for safe burning, and must follow the burning by-law 2015-810. If you would like a full copy of the burning by-law you can pick one up at the Stone Mills Township Office, or download a copy at The Stone Mills Township Fire Department has a Fire Advisory Line for all residents to call and find out if there is a Total Fire Ban in place and to also find out what the fire meter readings are for that day.

Please call either of these two numbers: Local Phone: 613-379-5255 Long Distance: 1 877-554-5557 If you have any further questions feel free to call Fire Prevention Officer Tracy Easterbrook: 613-378-2475

Do You Remember: Dorothy Dix? Glen R. Goodhand


once read a tongue-in-cheek spoof on giving advice: “Don’t give up your dreams—keep on sleeping!”

Well, to some people advice is a joke—so it follows that the entire advice column business is also a joke. But they have been of a great help to many, many people, burdened with distress of one kind or another. Social, family, romantic, and business-related problems, about which countless are too ashamed or nervous to seek solutions openly, demand this kind of secretive direction. The earliest known scenario of this kind goes back to 1917. Dorothy Dix (AKA Elizabeth Gilmer), already a successful journalist, was offered a position writing an advice column by the Wheeler Syndicate. The popularity of her column reached its peak around 1940, being featured in 273 newspapers, and read by an estimated 60 million. Two examples of her wise counsel are recorded for posterity and represent the sublime and the ridiculous. The first one was obviously purposeful and deadly serious.

ladylikeness), and social graces. If one wished to know who should be seated where at a wedding reception, the duties of a chaperone, or what to wear at a lawn party—she had the right answers. She didn’t have “advice columns” as such; but dealt with commonly discussed issues about family, community, and domestic life. She avoided giving “lonely hearts” advice, or the way to win a husband or a wife. Her counsel ranged from how to teach a 7-year-old boy good manners, to properly addressing a titled celebrity, to warning a young lady never to be alone in a room with a man. In 1946, she established the Emily Post Institute. Her philosophy on etiquette is still promoted, five generations later, by her great-granddaughter, Peggy. The most famous of advice columnists were twin sisters “Eppie” (Ann Landers) and Pauline (Dear Abby) Friedman. Unfortunately, the similarities of their talents let to contention. In 1956, shortly after the former assumed the “Ann Landers” column in the Chicago Times, the latter began her own column, using the pseudonym, “Abigail Van Buren.” They reconciled in 1964.

“Dear Miss Dix: The young man who wants to marry me has The Ann Landers the following archives house qualities: some of the most Bad—never amusing saved much questions: money; smokes Dorothy Dix writing at her desk, 1946. and eats Like: “A couple of excessively; women moved in drinks across the hall from me. I have never seen moderately; swears fluently; and too a man go in or leave their apartment. Do blunt. Good—pleasant and loveable; you think they could be Lebanese?” even-tempered; charitable and faithful; well – educated and hard worker. What do Or: “My mother is mean and shortyou make of such a man?-Hope.” tempered. Do you think she is going through mental pause?” “Dear Hope: Sounds to me as if he were a paragon that you had better seize quickly. She also was known for her witty Certainly, his fine qualities outweigh his responses to some rather naïve inquiries. faults. There is no such thing as a perfect man; and if there were, no woman would ever fall in love with him or marry him.” The second is of the ridiculous kind: “Dear Dorothy Dix: I really need your advice on a serious problem: I have suspected for some time my wife has been cheating on me. The usual signs: if the phone rings and I answer, the caller hangs up. She goes ‘out with the girls’ a lot. I try to stay awake and look out for her when she comes home, but I usually fall asleep. Anyway, last night about midnight I hid in the shed behind the boat. When she got home she got out of a car, buttoning up her blouse. It was at that moment, crouched behind the boat, that I noticed a crack in the outboard motor mounting bracket. Is that something I should weld or do I need to replace it with a new one?”

For instance: “Dear Ann: Our son was married in January. Five months later, his wife had a ten-pound baby girl. They said it was premature. Can a baby this big be early? – Wondering.” “Dear Wondering: The baby was on time. The wedding was late!” As well as perfectly legitimate queries, her famous sibling had to field some dillies. Her counsel for the former was typically discerning. The quips for the latter were delightful.

designated some of the more ridiculous ones as “zingers.” Here are examples: “Dear Abby: I know boys will be boys, but my ‘boy’ is 73 and he’s still chasing women. Any suggestions?-Annie.” “Dear Annie: Don’t worry. My dog has been chasing cars for years, but if he ever caught one he wouldn’t know what to do with it!” “Dear Abby: I have always wanted to have my family history traced, but can’t afford it. Any suggestions?-MJB.”

On the serious side, we have: “Dear Abby: I am in love with two boys and don’t know which one to marry. First, there’s Andy. Mama likes him a lot. He’s very reliable. Tony—is dark and gives me the creeps—awfully nice creeps. In the daytime I like Andy. I like Tony better at night. Which one would make the better husband?”

“Dear MJB: Yes. Run for public office.” Other advice columnists abound, like “Ask Amy,” “Miss Manners,” “Dear Prudence,” and “Annie’s Mailbox.” But the above four are the most celebrated and respected because of their longevity.

“Dear Andy or Tony: Neither one. Date others and make comparisons. When ‘the one’ comes along, you’ll flip your lid—not a coin!” “Abigail”

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I believe even this icon of discernment was speechless! Emily Post was a contemporary of Miss Dix, but her genre was somewhat different. She majored in etiquette and good manners. In an era when proper deportment was an issue, she specialized in the right table settings, the proper approach to gentlemanliness (and

Spread out newspaper clippings of personal advice columns, affairs of the heart, and lovelorn advice .

Tamworth Hotel

L&A Cattlemen’s Association 4TH BI-ANNUAL BARN DANCE Live entertainment: Texas Tuxedo $25/ticket, includes beef in a bun meal Contact Gary Donohue 613-532-5910 April / May 2018 • The SCOOP


It Happened One Night (Part I) messing up a fresh horse trail. It’s hard enough to see any steps in the dark as it is without trying to figure out what made them. I let the three adults know I am going out to look for Ray. And I grab one of the walkie-talkies. The plan takes shape as I walk. It seems to make sense, despite the lack of evidence they had gone that way, to walk down the road to the lake. If I find no recent tracks, then I will cut up through the woods and check along the back pond.

Alyce Gorter


here was a record-breaking cold spell gripping the country, and no creature was immune to it. So it seemed like a good idea on Saturday, December 30, 2017, with the temperature at – 28 Centigrade and the wind chill factor taking it down to – 33, to put the horses in their stalls a bit early. Besides, with three small granddaughters visiting, plus my brother-in-law and sister-in-law from Ohio, it would give me a longer, uninterrupted chance to associate with all of them. The horses, however, had other ideas. They were nowhere to be found and a breach in the fence showed their escape route. Well, not too big a deal I suppose as I often let them roam freely anyway and they always come home. Since there was no response to my calls, I return to the warmth of the house, only slightly unsettled in mind. At 8:15, I head back down to the stable and take a short walk around some of the property calling each horse’s name several times. It isn’t until I’m ready to give up on them and head for the house again that the herd comes galloping through the dark towards me and goes clattering into the stable. See, I told you they would come back! Except…there are only six. My handsome, seven-year-old quarter horse, Ray, is missing! I tuck the rest into their stalls with hay, grain, and water, and then grab a bucket of oats, a halter, and a lead shank. But where should I look? Since I never leave halters on my horses, I know he isn’t caught on an object somewhere. But, he would never willingly leave his herd. So, is he lying shattered at the bottom of a rocky cliff ? Did he break a leg and is he standing in pain and fear waiting for the coyotes to show up? What could possibly separate him from the others and prevent him from getting back to them?

At the lakeshore there is fresh horse sign everywhere — numerous areas where hooves have pawed through the snow for frozen grasses, trampled patches of earth and, surprisingly, a path of hoof prints leading across the western edge of the lake. In all my years of horse ownership, none has ever ventured out onto lake ice! And this is the mouth of the lake where the creek — having spread out from one shallow ribbon of water to cover a large marshy area full of grasses, willows and swamp shrubbery — now feeds into the main body of water. On the other side of the lake is my Uncle’s home and his laneway leading to the main road, providing new reasons for worry. Perhaps it was Ray who made the tracks, and he has maneuvered his way across the lake. He could be stranded on the other side (a reason for hope), or standing in the middle of the black highway unseen by oncoming traffic (cause for despair), or possibly even standing on the wrong side of the gate in our laneway (another reason for hope). Or maybe he is somewhere over in the swale browsing away and didn’t know his friends had left (an even more positive thought). Or maybe it wasn’t Ray and the horse that made them may even have come back off the ice and is part of the herd safely in the barn. I had better see how far the tracks go. I keep calling Ray’s name.

I tramp through the snow along the back trail, bucket banging against my leg, calling Ray’s name and pausing to listen for a response or some sound to indicate his presence. Nothing but the nighttime quiet of the forest. Then I check the barn again hoping he has come back and is standing there, munching hay. Nothing. The panic is starting to build. I put the dogs in the house as I don’t want them

Halfway around the end of the lake, I hear a bloodchilling sound coming from somewhere in the darkness — a rumbling, moaning groan


— quickly recognized as some living thing — my horse? — MY HORSE! — in serious trouble. But I could see no tall, dark shape anywhere near me. Then I hear it again, almost at my feet! There, barely visible, submerged in the frigid lake with only his ice-covered ears, the white strip on his face and his nostrils showing above the water, was Ray. The panic, fear, and dread I had been trying to keep at bay now, without bidding or restraint, became full-fledged terror. I screamed into the walkie-talkie, “Ken, Ray’s in the lake! I need help NOW! Bring ropes and chains!” There is no response. Did I push the wrong button? No. I frantically scream into it, again and again, begging for help. He is on his way. I creep to the broken edge of the ice, talking to Ray all the time, “Hang in there. We’ll get you out. Don’t give up.” Over and over, as much for my reassurance as his. I slip the halter over his head, drawing the straps up through the water and grappling with the buckle, furious with my now frozen fingers. I snap on the lead shank and try to pull. It has no effect. The lights of the tractor show through the trees then head out towards us across the lake. I hear the ice groaning in protest under the weight. It couldn’t hold up a 1000 pound horse so there is no reason to believe it should support the heaviness of the tractor. A new panic! A fresh terror! Get off the lake! Get off the lake! My brother-in-law Jim arrives with the 4-wheeler. Ken grabs the machine and heads back to the garage for more rope. Jim stays with Ray; I drive the tractor back to shore.

Announcing the opening of SHARBOT LAKE FARMERS MARKET’S 2018 SEASON on May 19!

MIKE BOSSIO, M.P. Member of Parliament for Hastings—Lennox and Addington Main Office: 20-B Richmond Blvd, Napanee (Mon-Fri, 9am to 4pm) Satellite office hours throughout the riding—call for details! | Toll Free: 1-866-471-3800



Following tradition, the Market will hold its ANNUAL PLANT SALE on May 20. Farm-fresh produce in season, fair-trade organic coffee, baked goods, maple syrup, frozen meats, local crafts and more. The Summer Market runs Victoria Day Weekend through Thanksgiving Weekend, Saturdays 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Sharbot Lake Beach.

SEASONS! July 4, 4:15 p.m. Robert Kortgaard & Peter Tiefenbach with Julie Nasrallah & Brett Plegato July 10, :15 p.m. Great musicians perform Alliage Quintet memorable music in the friendly July 16, 7:15 p.m. atmosphere of St. Paul’s Church, Vienna Piano Trio Amherst Island. July 29, 7:15 p.m. Beverley Harris, Artistic Director Rolston String Quartet For more information please visit our website! August 10, 4:15 p.m. Jonathan Crow, Philip Chiu & Gabriel Radford

[Part II to be continued in the June/July issue of The SCOOP...]

Ken is a champion in tying knots — has a large repertoire and knows when to use each one. And he has a supply of rope that would make a sailor drool. So, Ken ties a rope (with a bowline knot — which is non-sliding) around Ray’s neck, as the lead shank had broken at the first


attempt to haul the horse to safety. This rope is now tied to the front of the 4-wheeler (with a round turn and two half hitches). He quickly ties the second rope to the back of the ATV (another round turn and two half hitches). I drag this huge, heavy rope about 150 yards down the lake to the tractor and secure it with several twists and turns that would be a disgrace to my knot-expert husband but that I hope will hold when the strain comes. I am now on the tractor awaiting direction, or inspiration, or just some way to be more actively involved in hauling Ray as quickly as possible out of that would-be watery grave, knowing that seconds count. At this point, due to the darkness, distance from the activity and the noise from the tractor, I cannot see or hear what is happening. Unable to sit idly by, I back up the tractor and take any slack out of the rope. That, I am sure, will save valuable time when (or if) I get the signal to move. Suddenly, Jim steps into the beam of the ATV headlights frantically waving his arms over his head, yelling for me to STOP! What fresh horror have I created now? I scramble off the tractor and scuffle towards them through the snow not knowing what to expect.

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The SCOOP • April / May 2018 FONTS USED

CALLING ALL VENDORS: If you make something, or grow something please email us for an application.

Gardening From the Ground Up Susan Rehner


hen we think of gardens, we usually picture colourful flowers, lush green foliage, and healthy vegetables and herbs incorporated into an attractive layout or design. But there are two very important underlying elements that don’t appear in that picture even though they make an important contribution to the beauty and productivity of a garden — compost and mulch.

Compost is actively decomposing plant

matter from the kitchen, yard, and garden incorporated into the garden soil. It nourishes the garden, providing needed organic matter and nutrients. Patrick Lima in The Kitchen Garden calls compost “soil food” and many gardeners refer to it as “black gold.” In fact, experts claim the best thing you can do for your soil is to increase the organic content by adding compost. And compost is free. In addition, composting is an environmentally sound practice, because by recycling household and garden waste, there is less waste transported to landfills. What can be composted includes kitchen vegetable waste, eggshells, coffee grounds, tea leaves, grass clippings, weeds, leaves, plants, and manure from plant eaters. What should not be composted: meat, bones, dairy products, fat, and cat or dog wastes. They take too long to break down and may attract some unwelcome visitors. Also, avoid composting plant material sprayed with pesticides or that is diseased.

in books and websites on composting— designs for building your own compost bins, pits, and heaps, methods for decomposing the wastes efficiently, and harvesting and ways of using compost.

Mulch is another healthy garden essential; it is distributed on the surface of the garden soil and its benefits are many. Mulch holds moisture in the soil and reduces the need for watering; it protects soil from wind, sun, frost, and damaging heavy rains; it reduces weed growth and any weeds that manage to poke through the mulch are easily pulled; it extends the growing season for some plants; and it protects plants from certain insect pests. Organic mulch, as it breaks down, also adds nutrients to the soil. I’m sure everyone remembers the terrible 2016 drought and intense heat in eastern Ontario. Water was in short supply. Our 17 rain barrels ran dry early in the summer, and since we didn’t want to risk having the well run dry, we didn’t water from the well. Although the garden was mulched, we wished we had mulched more liberally, because many of our garden plants withered and died. Our garden’s productivity that summer was at an all-time low, so we bought vegetables from local growers who had spread their mulch more generously. Organic mulches such as straw, bark and wood chips (smaller are better), chopped


Both sandy and clay soils are improved and enriched by adding compost. Water and nutrients tend to drain through sandy soils before the plants can make use of them, but compost incorporated into the sandy soil helps to retain water and nutrients. Clay soils do not drain well and tend to compact, but compost will help to break up and aerate the soil, allowing water to drain more efficiently. There is lots of information available

County Rd 1 E, Box 89 Newburgh, ON K0K 2S0 Phone: 613-378-2220 Fax: 613-378-2221

leaves, grass clippings, pine needles, and compost (as a top dressing) will eventually break down, adding nutrients to the soil. Other mulches — black plastic, newspaper, geotextile, and stones— can also be used. Plastic mulch will need to be removed at the end of the season. Different mulches suit different conditions, different gardens, and different aesthetic tastes, so it’s a good idea to do a little research to find the one that best fits your garden.

Compost and mulch are essential to the beauty and

productivity of a garden. Photo by Gabriel Jimenez. There’s a lot to learn about the particular applications and the best sale and it will feature a wide variety of methods of using compost and mulch. So annuals, perennials, heritage tomatoes, we are pleased to invite you to attend vegetables, herbs, herb baskets, and GrassRoots Growers spring event shrubs grown by GrassRoots Growers and on April 12: “Composting and our supporters. Over the years, it has Eco-Mulches with Astrid become a go-to event, attracting Muschalla at St. Patrick School, 6041 customers from near and far who love Hwy. 41 in Erinsville. The event will start the variety, the unusual plants rarely at 7:00 p.m. Astrid is a certified land care found elsewhere, and the reasonable professional and an experienced speaker. pricing. Proceeds from the sale will fund After her presentation, she will answer a Fleming College Sustainable your questions on composting and Agriculture bursary and provide prize mulching. money for local agricultural fairs. That evening we will also have a seed exchange, so bring any extra seeds you want to share, and stay after Astrid’s talk for refreshments and socializing. Our speaker events are free, but donations help us cover expenses. Everyone is welcome.

GrassRoots Growers Spring Plant Sale will be held on May 26 at Beaver

Lake Lions Park in Erinsville at 10:00 a.m. sharp. This is our ninth annual plant

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.

Store Hours: Monday - Friday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Saturday 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.


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April / May 2018 • The SCOOP


Back to the Land Values Create Wise Sustainable Legacy Katherine Burrows


hen I arrive at Wiseacres, John Wise invites me into the comfortable living room. Gothic-style windows provide passive solar energy and the cast iron woodstove completes the cozy atmosphere. We sit on couches facing each other, but the room is small enough that the conversation still feels intimate. Looking out over the farm, with snow falling, and a blue jay at the feeder, I get an enthralling lesson in the history and evolution of straw bale homes. In the summer of 2000, John Wise and fellow sustainable living advocate, Anita Jansman, created the straw bale home, where they now share their lives. But the story began long before that. John tells me that, despite growing up a city boy, city life did not feel right for him. He notes that ever since the industrial revolution, there have been periodic back to the land movements, a large one of which took place in the sixties. Influenced by this movement, John purchased land in Centreville during the late 1970s. John farms Wiseacres, a combination of 100 owned acres and 130 rented. Although he started with strawberries, at various points he has raised dairy cattle, beef cattle, pigs, and meat chickens. All crops are certified organic, including wheat, soybeans, asparagus, and strawberries. Over the years, John has taken off-farm work as a school bus driver, Environmental Farm Plan coordinator, politician, and Straw Bale Coalition co-founder (now Ontario Natural Building Coalition at www. When considering what type of house to build, John notes they wanted something energy efficient. Anita suggested a straw bale home. They hired Camel’s Back Construction from Peterborough. John’s sister-in-law, Janet Stewart, a Toronto architect, designed the home. Straw bale buildings were first used in the American west when balers appeared

in the late 1800s. People made rustic houses and plastered them with clay, similar to the adobe homes of New Mexico. The Wiseacres project started with a full basement. Posts made of 2x4s on the flat with 1/2� plywood skins, 14� wide (the width of a bale on edge) are spaced at intervals as specified by an engineer. For example, on the 40-foot west wall, there are posts at each corner, and six posts in between. Bales were stacked tightly, using the hay elevator to place the bales in the tower. Mesh was added to the walls, then 2� mortar inside and outside, adding structural strength and securing the bales. With the woodstove and passive solar, radiant floor heating is seldom used. John admits they do lose heat through “mediocre quality� double-glazed windows. They’ve added a windbreak, now half the height of the tall home (they wanted the view), to minimize exposure to northwest wind. Straw bales require low energy output to grow. Baling is local with zero waste. About 350 bales insulate the entire house. At $3-4 per bale, straw is costeffective, with R35 to R40 ratings on walls and ceiling. (A typical 2x6 R20 house, with studs every 16� (R5) averages an R15 rating.) When kept dry, straw bales last as long as wood, and provide compost when the house is demolished. Tightly sealed plaster blocks rodents and prevents air from feeding a fire. Regular household wiring requires no additional insurance. Although straw costs less, more labour is required. Heating and cooling savings make maintenance and cost per R-value cheaper. John’s son, Graham Wise, was 12 years old in the summer of 2000. With no other construction experience, he didn’t think of straw bale houses as different at the time. It wasn’t until Graham was in his early 20’s, and his dad was involved with the Straw Bale Coalition, that he realized how innovative the home really was.

Chateau Wise, the straw insulated home built by John’s son Graham.

Growing up with instilled habits of turning off lights and opening windows at night to cool the house, Graham fondly admits he has been greatly impacted by the values his father exemplified. “I loved the way Dad’s house looked. It’s

John Wise (pictured) and Anita Jansman created their straw bale home on Wiseacres Organic Farm in Centreville. All photos by Katherine Burrows. incredibly homey. And I knew it was efficient.� Although he went through the teenage phase of wanting nothing more than to move away, Graham was eventually drawn back to the area. In the summer of 2012, as part of a certificate program at the Endeavor Centre, Graham helped build Canada’s greenest home in Peterborough. He enjoyed problem-solving, thinking ahead, and adapting as new technologies became available to reduce carbon footprints. Last year, Graham considered buying a home in the country. Century homes, requiring extensive renovations, and guaranteeing massive heating bills made home ownership seem unachievable. When John suggested severing part of the farm for his son to build on, Graham, now 29, started planning a small, affordable home. Although he had left the sustainable building industry, he kept his connections, so when it came time to build his own home, he knew exactly who to call. A former classmate, Jeremy Clarke, of Simple Life Homes was top of the list. As Graham and Jeremy collaborate to design and build Chateau Wise, they envision a more streamlined version of the straw bale home (think modern meets rustic). They source local building materials and natural products with low VOC’s, like fibreglass windows. The building code now requires an HVAC system. Using a geo heat exchanger

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The SCOOP • April / May 2018


Light-filled Gothic window at Wiseacres. (earth tube), which circulates underground air (10ÂşC), reduces the burden on the HVAC system. The walls of Chateau Wise use a 2x6 frame exterior. Straw bales stacked on the inside and blown cellulose provide an estimated R50 rating. Keeping climate change in mind, Graham and Jeremy used electrical heat in their design, with the potential to add solar. Recalling his fathers’ words, “Close that door,–you’re not heating the world,â€? Graham proudly affirms that his desire to build a sustainable home, close to his family, “reflects well on the way he raised me. The bottom line is that I could not do this without John. I wouldn’t be here without the values he instilled. He made it a possibility.â€? With a clearly inherited attitude of education and collaboration through sustainable lifestyle choices, Graham hopes that sharing the example of his straw bale home shows others of his generation that the dream of affordable home ownership is achievable.

A Natural View: A Rare Ecosystem Only Minutes Away Terry Sprague


e had just passed by a cluster of Royal Ferns. Their widely spaced oblong leaflets caused us to think we were not looking at a fern, but rather, a locust. They grow in several isolated spots along this trail where we also had admired several patches of Wild Calla. With them were a few remaining Pitcher Plants, their globular red flowers bent and not as radiant as they were last week. One had to really peer into the wetland to even see the pitcher-like leaves, still poised to entrap any unwary insect. We continued and came upon an open wet area, much like one would see in the boreal areas of the province, scraggly and stunted tamaracks dominating the scene with a few tired fluffs of Cottongrass remaining here and there. We were in a fen. It is not a term we hear frequently in this area, for this type of wetland is rare, so far south. Think of it as a bog, also rare here, but unlike the huge peat moss basins with no inflow or outflow such as we would find in Algonquin Park, fens allow for some entry of water and imperceptible outflow. It is not as acidic as a bog so the make-up of plants is different. The term derives from the old English fenne, and the story is that it has proto German origins. This is the Menzel Centennial Provincial

Nature Reserve, on Roblin Road, east of County Road 41, and one of its chief glories is that it is within a relatively easy driving distance from either Tamworth, Napanee, or Deseronto, via County Road 10 (Deseronto Road). The crowning glory is the property’s size – over 2,000 acres – and that the fen itself is but one of many habitats. An alvar at its beginning offers little hint as to what lies beyond, but curiosity soon leads our exploration into a treed swamp before breaking out into a dry moraine-like setting where in a month or two we will find bright orange Butterfly-weeds. Certainly not a weed in anyone’s eye, although it is a milkweed, and as the name suggests, is often recommended for backyard settings to attract a variety of butterflies. Crossing the fen, it is difficult to imagine with the cottongrass, orchids, and scrub tamarack, that we are not in some far northern setting instead of just a half hour’s drive north of the Bay of Quinte. The trail takes us through deciduous woods comprising White Birch, and amazing anthill domes. To find ants in such a moist setting is unusual, but they must do well here, as there are several such mounds. They have solved the wet conditions by building upwards rather than chancing questionable conditions below the surface for their living chambers. The lake at the trail’s end is deceiving as its kidney shape quickly swings out of sight, revealing only part of its true 150-acre size. It is shallow and filled with muck, and was incredibly warm, even this early in the season.

This delicate orchid, Grass Pink, is just one of many wildflowers which grow at the Menzel Nature Reserve. Photo by Terry Sprague.

Bye Bye Deer Fly

I chatted with the property’s namesake some years ago, and it was through his generosity that acquisition of the

property was made possible. A 400-metre boardwalk has taken shape and many other enhancements. Yet, the property has not lost its natural appeal. Except for the boardwalk and some trail maintenance, the property remains undisturbed, as Dieter (Bill) Menzel says it should be. “The property is for the plants and animals that live here, but the trail is for the people,” he said. The story behind the acquisition is a touching one. His late wife, Oivi, passed Dieter Menzel stands beside the plaque commemorating his away at an early late wife, Oivi. Photo by Terry Sprague. age, only a decade into when she was alive. I have conducted their marriage. She was an avid guided hikes here often in past years, but naturalist, who during that short time I also go here when I want to be alone in sparked her husband’s interest in nature my thoughts, and sit on the shore of the as she led him to parks and wilderness lake where there are no cottages, no cell areas, helping him to get away from his phones, no cars, no voices – only those of work at Shell Canada. After her untimely a passing loon or an osprey. I want to death, he wanted to do something enjoy the sight of a Rose Pogonia, or special in her memory, and the memorial marvel at a Hairstreak Butterfly feeding plaque standing alone a short distance in on a dusty Yarrow plant, or listen to the beyond the noise of any passing cars flute-like notes of a Wood Thrush as it symbolizes the quietude she came to filters through the forest. We need appreciate in similar natural areas she special places like this and we need more always enjoyed visiting. Seeing it people like Dieter Menzel to make it standing there surrounded by happen. wildflowers, you can’t help but be moved by the love she had for nature, and the Terry Sprague lives in Prince Edward generous lasting memorial that her County and is a retired interpretive husband has made possible for those naturalist and hike leader. See his website who share her love of quiet, secluded at . He can be spaces. reached at You will not find this natural area advertised much, for its remoteness and its mystery make it special. It is a place to seek solitude, as Oivi no doubt enjoyed doing in the special places she visited

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TAMWORTH BRANCH LIBRARY New time starting in May!

MAKER CLUB: Saturdays @ 10:30 a.m. Kids are invited to make crafts, play with LEGO and take part in a variety of other activities including circuitry and robotics. You never know what fun will be on the agenda at Maker Club! Suitable for children ages 12 and under. Parents/caregivers must remain on site. 613.379.3082 tambrch@lennox-addington.

April / May 2018 • The SCOOP


Camden East Millwright: William Burgoyne tool chest into a horse-drawn wagon for the drive to the mills that dotted the river from Napanee to Yarker. William would have been trained from an early age how to use tools designed to shape wood and support machinery that transferred water power to equipment in sawmills and grist mills.

Joseph Imre


n 1873, the Napanee Paper Company opened on the Napanee River in Strathcona (then known as Napanee Mills). The company began as a venture between a group of prominent Napanee businessmen, including William Hill and Hiram Wright, lumber manufacturer and postmaster of Napanee, respectively; Alexander Henry, proprietor and printer of Canada Casket and Standard of Napanee; Alexander Smith, manager of the Napanee branch of the Merchants Bank; J. R. Scott who had set up large mills in the American west and first brought electricity to Napanee; and, John Thomson who was offered stock to remain with the new company. In 1883, the Fenelon Falls branch of the company opened with a large pulp mill, saw, and shingle mills, thus attracting intrepid millwrights and workers to the prospering company. Crowds would gather in Napanee along the river to watch the massive machinery brought in by ship and carried by horse-drawn carriage to the mills at Strathcona and all along the Napanee River.

William, his wife Clarissa Heatley (a schoolteacher from Ireland) and son, Charles, eventually moved to Fenelon Falls where William managed a pulp plant processing basswood for the Napanee Pulp and Paper Company. Williams’s career progressed remarkably fast and by the 1880s, he had risen to prominence from mill manager to entrepreneur to store and ship owner.

By 1886, the family had entered the retail trade and ran three successful stores. In the late 1890s, the Burgoyne’s had purchased a small pleasure steam-

In 2017, the greatgrandson of William Burgoyne, donated William’s original tool chest to the L&A County Museum and Archives. A millwright’s tools, as you can imagine, Close-up of William Burgoyne’s tool chest. All photos were closely courtesy of the Lennox & Addington County Museum and guarded. William’s Archives. tool chest with its Masonic insignia is a used to issue receipts on the road or at beautiful example of woodworking, the Burgoyne’s stores. There is also a combining close-fitting drawers and completed receipt issued by W. Burgoyne shelves in a rugged chest designed to and Son General Merchants, Fenelon withstand transport. The chest includes Falls, for a brass door lock. William’s son, chisels, gouges, and drill bits that are Charles (born 1872) would ultimately much longer than those you find today, inherit the family business. William lived to handle the thick wooden beams to the ripe old age of 84, passing away in common at the time. The chest also 1927. The Burgoyne’s built a legacy that includes leather-working tools, influenced the Napanee River valley and equipment for making musket shot, and Fenelon Falls, leaving us with a tool heavier tools like ratchets, wrenches, and chest that will continue to connect us to counters. William even left a personal this region’s heritage and to the touch with a W. B. marked on the tools, evolution of the papermaking process. pear-shaped cut-outs, and dotted lines to identify them as his property. Joseph is an Archives Volunteer at the Lennox & Addington County Museum and Accompanying the tools is a receipt book Archives.

Burgoyne’s tool chest with its Masonic insignia is a beautiful example of woodworking.

Some of Burgoyne’s millwright tools, donated by his great-grandson to the L&A County Museum and Archives.

By the 1880’s, the transition to steam power was underway. A letter to W. Burgoyne and Son in 1880 from the Thomson and Williams Manufacturing Company in Stratford describes the foundation stones and process for installing stationary steam power. In Fenelon Falls, the mill was built in 1882 along the shores of Cameron Lake, next to the Grand Trunk rail line for transportation, not near the falls. This mill used steam processing. Burgoyne’s great-grandson recalls that the mill’s 110-foot chimney was a landmark in the village. Operating day and night, the mill turned basswood logs brought across Cameron and Balsam Lakes by tugboat into tons of pulp to be shipped out on the Grand Trunk.

William Burgoyne was born in 1843 in Clark’s Mills (which later became Camden East), four years after his parents, Joseph and Malvina Burgoyne, moved to the area in 1839. Following his father’s example, at 28 years of age, William was already listed as a millwright and sawyer in the 1871 Census. William and his father and brothers built and maintained water driven mills throughout the Napanee area. From their home across from St. Luke’s church, the Burgoyne’s serviced the mills along the Napanee River Valley, loading the rugged

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The SCOOP • April / May 2018

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Protecting Our Wildlife: Legislation in Ontario Meela Melnik-Proud


eet Zeus. “Somewhere between 70 to 100 years old, and over 47 pounds, this is the oldest, largest snapping turtle I have had the pleasure of meeting,” says John Urquhart, a species at risk (SAR) expert with extensive experience in the Frontenac region. Zeus is in big trouble. Snapping Turtles are one of over 4,000 animal wildlife species monitored under the Living Planet Index—a partnership between the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Zoological Society of London to address the urgent loss of biodiversity worldwide. Globally, the Living Planet Index shows an average decline of 58% between 1970 and 2012. Canada’s Living Planet Index shows a staggering 83% decline. “As human actions transform the natural world, Earth’s ecological systems are undergoing fundamental change, the consequences of which are breathtaking in scope and speed,” states the WWFCanada, 2017 Living Planet Report. “Biological diversity is undergoing such catastrophic declines that scientists, in peer-reviewed studies, are describing ‘biological annihilation’ and warning of a sixth mass extinction in a historically unparalleled time-frame.” The stark message hits close to home for species at risk like Zeus. The good news is that we are lucky enough to have SAR in our collective backyards, and Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA) and Ontario’s Endangered Species Act (ESA) to protect them. The bad news is that these powerful laws have essentially been reduced to a paper exercise and Canada’s rates of SAR decline are only increasing. “The federal Species at Risk Act has faltered in its mission to protect Canada’s most beleaguered wildlife,” says the report, citing “government failures to meet SARA’s timelines for recovery strategies and in identifying and protecting critical habitat.”

is Johnston Point under threat of condominium development in South Frontenac Township. It’s a natural heritage gem for Loughborough Lake residents, and unprotected home for at least six species at risk not previously identified by the developer: Snapping Turtle (special concern), Blanding’s Turtle (threatened), Gray Ratsnake (threatened), Whippoorwill (threatened), Butternut (endangered), and Little Brown Bat (endangered). Notably, the 2017 report highlights the Little Brown Bat as “some ecologists consider this the most rapid decline of mammals ever documented ... emergency listed as Endangered under SARA in 2014, one of three species ever to receive such treatment out of all invertebrates, vertebrates and flora.” They, and any other endangered or threatened species, automatically receive explicit legal protection under the ESA: “No person shall kill, harm, harass, capture or take a living member ... No person shall damage or destroy the habitat of a species that is listed on the Species at Risk in Ontario list as an endangered or threatened species.” While no living SAR were found in the developer’s environmental impact assessments (EIAs) of Johnston Point, neighbours would be quick to tell you otherwise. Regularly they see and hear species at risk on Johnston Point, not the least of which are Ontario’s largest snake, Gray Ratsnakes like “Shorty” – measuring in at over four feet despite his missing tail – and the very vocal, but rarely seen Whippoorwill, easy to identify with its repetitive breeding call commonly heard from the Point on summer nights.

Zeus, a 47.5-pound snapping turtle “somewhere between 70 to 100 years old,” is one of many species at risk in Ontario. Photo courtesy John Urquhart. Resources and Forestry (MNRF) who oversees the ESA. In one site visit, as part of that peer review, Snapping Turtle, Blanding’s Turtle and Butternut were directly observed and suitable habitat for eleven other SAR on the Ontario list was noted.

damaged and/or destroyed, under a claim that overall benefit for these species will somehow be achieved in Ontario. Whippoorwills, Little Brown Bats and Butternuts require only a “commitment” to avoid impact or to create “enhancement” areas.

But even now they’ve been identified, the laws most certainly cannot be counted on to protect any of these species, or to stem the tide of wildlife decline in general on this unique property. The ESA, despite its explicit wording and urgent intentions, has gaping loopholes that make contravening it prohibitions easy and acceptable.

“Wildlife loss is not someone else’s problem,” says WWF-Canada’s president, “It’s a Canadian problem... We all, collectively, have a moral duty — and a self-interest — to halt wildlife decline.” But, how are we to act, given the extent of the failure in implementing the ESA? The MNRF has never denied an “Overall Benefit” permit. Authorities have no effective inspection, compliance and enforcement system in place to ensure the developer follows the rules, and the public is being kept in the dark on the vague ESA negotiations with developers. It spells disaster at Zeus’ grassroots, and for all wildlife in decline.

To accommodate this Plan of Condominium, the developer has applied to the MNRF for a “benefit permit” that, if issued, would allow for individual Blanding’s Turtles and Gray Ratsnakes to be killed or harmed, and their habitat

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It was, in fact, this common knowledge that finally brought an independent expert review of the developer’s EIAs and species at risk to the immediate attention of the Ministry of Natural

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Lessons Learned Blair McDonald


aving lived in Kamloops since 2011, occasionally, I am asked about what it is like living here and how it differs from Ontario. In 500 words or fewer, you say? OK, I’ll do my best. To be honest, there are many differences. Generally, I think all the stereotypes of BC living are true: expensive, relaxed, outdoorsy, big trucks and big toys, and adventure sport-minded are accurate. For example, given the warm weather over the past weekend, I was talking with another guy about the remainder of the ski season. He informed me it ends (for normal skiers) in mid-April but for him and his family, he does something called “skin to ski.” Frightened by what this could mean (for some reason, I instantly thought of The Silence of the Lambs), he told me it is a skin you apply to your skies or boots to climb mountains and ski where there is still snow (i.e. like the famous Roger’s Pass). It sounds dangerous and I’m sure it is. But for us Ontarians, this is all new territory. Then, there was about a week ago, where a group of young people told me they were going to a “pile fire.” While I didn’t exactly get an invite, I got an eye-roll for not knowing. Basically, it is a Kamloops version of a good ol’ Tamworth pit party. The kids burn wood, drink Fireball, woo-hoo to old Garth Brooks songs (although here raver music and onesies

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are a big thing so I imagine the music might be a little different) and hang out. Again, a little different. As well, the other day I mentioned that my cousin was having a Jack and Jill party for their upcoming marriage. The response was confused (to say the least). Engagement parties aren’t common here and so, once again, I was reminded of a small difference in lifestyle and traditions. And then there is the winter driving. I think that is the biggest difference. The roads leaving the city in any direction (Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver) can be treacherous under the wrong conditions. While freezing rain isn’t really a thing here in the way that it is in Eastern Ontario, fog and sudden snow storms at high altitude make for a lot of white-knuckle winter driving. Investing in decent snow tires and even a decent size vehicle become important for winter driving (and checking the highway cams on DriveBC). I have never seen so many cars flipped over in my life as I have out here.

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It’s safe to say, I avoid travelling in the winter if I don’t have to. How these hockey parents get around from town to town every winter, is beyond me (actually, a lot of teams use buses). Growing up, I remember some dicey trips home from Keane or Havelock, but nothing like this. Those are just some differences (of recent memory), but I am sure I am just scratching the surface.

SELBY UNITED CHURCH ROAST BEEF SUPPER Saturday, May 12 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. Adults $15 Children 12 & under $6 For tickets in advance call 613.354.3180 or 613.388.2805

The Kingston Fibre Artists present


Opening reception on Saturday, April 7 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Tett Centre for Learning and Creativity. This is our 21st annual exhibition, and features new work by 17 local artists. It runs until May 3. Contact: 613.389.8993 Solution to the word game on page 13:


The SCOOP • April / May 2018

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April / May 2018 • The SCOOP


Living the Farm Life: Meet the Gifkins of Providence Family Farm Sandy Youmans


ustin and Cheryl Gifkins never planned to become farmers. In fact, Justin has a background in business and Cheryl is a registered nurse. The Gifkins got into farming out of necessity. When their first-born child was diagnosed with multiple health issues (i.e., eczema, asthma, food allergies, and environmental allergies), the Gifkins looked into what might be causing their son’s health challenges. They discovered a powerful link between people’s health and the food they eat. As a result, they started making healthier food choices for their family and began eating organic. To afford the high cost of organic foods, the Gifkins eventually bought a small hobby farm in 2010 in the Greater Toronto Area and began raising some chickens, a goat, and a pig, and learned how to garden. Over the next couple years, they added more pigs, a couple cows, and more chickens.

Looking back on their hobby farm days, the Gifkins are thankful they started out small because there is a steep learning curve in farming. Mistakes are expensive with livestock so it was good for them to learn from their mistakes with only a few animals. Besides learning from their own experiences, Justin and Cheryl have

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learned a lot about farming from the internet and experienced local farmers who have been generous with their time and knowledge. The Gifkins use sustainable farming practices they learned from Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms in Virginia, well known from the popular documentary, Food, Inc. All their animals are raised on pasture, enjoying fresh air and fresh grass, without chemical fertilizers, hormones, or unnecessary antibiotics. In 2014, the Gifkins decided to make farming a full-time affair. They were tired of having to juggle work, farm, and family responsibilities (they had four young children at the time) so they invested in a 69-acre farm in the Roblin area. The Gifkins didn’t take the decision to operate a small farm lightly. They fully knew that most businesses don’t succeed and, even if they do, they don’t make a profit for the first five years. However, careful planning and Cheryl working part-time as a nurse has allowed the Gifkins to grow their farming business, year after year. Providence Family Farms offers pastured pork, grass-fed beef, pastured chicken, and free-range eggs to its customers. All of their animals are fed non-GMO feed. This year, the Gifkins have their sights set on raising more of their own feed for their animals, continuing Thursday and Saturday sales at the Farmer’s Market in Belleville, and selling their organic asparagus. Now that they are a part of the new Artisanal Chicken Program, they will also be raising 600 chickens on pasture. In the future, they would like to get into agrotourism to provide people with firsthand farm experiences. When asked what they enjoy the most about farming, the Gifkins identify three things: 1) working for themselves from

home, 2) enjoying their farm fresh food and knowing where it comes from, and 3) providing their customers with quality food products they stand behind. Cheryl explains, “It’s rewarding when a new customer finds us, tries our meat for the first time, and then keeps coming back month after month! They taste the difference in the meat and really care about how the animals are raised.” Some customers have even told the Gifkins that they haven’t been able to eat certain meats for a while, but find they can eat the meat raised at Providence Family Farm.

If you are interested in learning more about Providence Family Farm, please drop by the farm at 249 Salmon River Road in Roblin, call 905.716.2714, or visit their Facebook page.

What advice would the Gifkins give to people interested in going into farming? “Marry into a farm,” Justin jokes. On a more serious note, Justin cautions, “It will cost three times as much as you think and it’s three times as much work as you think.” Cheryl affirms, “It’s not simple, but it’s a good life.”

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The SCOOP • April / May 2018


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Prison Farms Reopening! The Mazinaw-Pringle But With, or Without Cows? Lake Tramway


t was a roller-coaster of good news/ bad news for prison farm supporters in late February and early March.

On February 27, the federal budget included a single paragraph about the reopening of the prison farms at Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions: “To provide federal inmates with training opportunities to acquire new skills, while preparing for employment and successful reintegration and rehabilitation into the community, the Government proposes to invest $4.3 million over five years, beginning in 2018–19, to support the reopening of the Penitentiary Farms at the Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions in Kingston, Ontario. The farms would be run by CORCAN, a key rehabilitation programming agency of the Correctional Service of Canada.” Jubilation! It was the end of a nine-year campaign — first, trying to save the prison farms, and then after the Conservative government closed the farms in 2010, to restore them, and “bring back the cows,” (the famous dairy herd at Collins Bay). About 40 people joined the weekly vigil group to celebrate on Monday, March 5, at the entrance to Collins Bay Penitentiary. The vigil-keepers announced it was their last vigil, having met there every Monday night since the day the cows were removed, August 9, 2010. Alas, we had celebrated too soon. As the saying goes, the devil is in the details. On March 7, at a meeting of the prison farm citizens advisory panel, Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) staff announced that there would be a dairy goat operation at Joyceville and crops, horticulture and land management at both sites. No mention of dairy cows...

days, I recall a neighbouring camper showing up each weekend with bags of scraps for firewood. He picked them up free of charge from a factory in Trenton and claimed they were scraps from casket handles. Is there a connection?

Marcella Neely

but no dairy cows.

Dianne Dowling

So, a teleconference call with Public Safety Minister, Ralph Goodale, was arranged for March 15, with all the citizen members of the panel taking part. Minister Goodale said reopening the prison farms at Kingston is a pilot project, and if successful, could lead to reopening prison farms elsewhere. He told us the program has to fulfill three needs — staying within the budget of $4.3 million over five years, being implemented in a timely fashion, and showing clear evidence of its value as a rehabilitation and training program. He said the prison farm plan is “open to modification,” within the limits of the money budgeted, and with the expectation that the program would be implemented as soon as possible so it can show its value. He asked the panel for a side-by-side comparison of a dairy cow operation vs. a dairy goat operation, including costs and timelines, to be presented to him by mid-April. We are grateful for Mr. Goodale’s openness to a second look and are working to prepare the report he requested. Stay tuned — for good news, we hope. Contacting the Minister’s office could help our campaign to “bring the cows home.” Letters (no postage required) can be written to: Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6. Email ralph., phone 613.947.1153, or fax 613.996.9790.


everal years ago an item of interest took me to a Kingston program of “Used to Be” Railroads. It was captivatingly presented by geographichistorian, Steven Manders, who knows our area intimately. Talking to Manders, I learned that he travelled waterways by canoe and kayak all over the North of Seven landscape. I asked if he would share some of his experiences with the C&DHS and he told me he would consider it. After passing on his information to our program organizers, I gave it no more thought.

As he explored the overgrown remains of the Tramway, Manders unearthed many relics destined for our Museum. He has written about his discoveries and shares them in a book he has written called “The First Spike.” In it, he writes about early railways, roads, and tramways. A model of our Tramway as it once was will be unveiled in the Cloyne Pioneer Museum at our season opening on Saturday, June 23 at 11 a.m. Steven Manders will speak at the Cloyne & District Historical Society meeting on Monday, April 16 at 1 p.m.

Sometime later, Steven not only shared his adventures but discovered that we could intrigue him as well. He had heard of the historical Mazinaw-Pringle Tramway but we knew exactly where it was and that exposed remains existed. This tramway was once a system that joined the Mississippi Watershed to the Moira River Watershed used during the nineteenth century to transport logs and was operated by the Gilmore family logging business. From the Tramway, the logs continued down the Skootamatta River to Lake Ontario. The logs were floated to Belleville then to the Gilmore mill in Trenton. The wood from those logs may have built homes and furniture in Ontario. During our camping

Dianne Dowling of Howe Island is the citizen co-chair of the prison farm advisory panel and a member of the Save Our Prison Farms organizing committee. For updates please check their Facebook page at SaveOurPrisonFarms/

The citizen members of the panel were shocked. The dairy cows were the central symbol of the campaign — the means by which Offering locally made fudge, inmates gained maple syrup, cheese curd, employment training and rehabilitation and tourtière pies while generating OPEN EVERYDAY income for CORCAN through milk sales 6:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. within the prison We’re on Facebook system. It was a bitter/ sweet proposition — 6682 Wheeler Street, Tamworth 613-379-2526 prison farms restored,

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We hold our meetings in the Barrie Township Hall in Cloyne (across from the post office) at 1 p.m. on the third Monday of the month. Everyone is welcome and there is no admission charge.


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April / May 2018 • The SCOOP


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The SCOOP // April / May 2018  

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 // April / May 2018  

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...