RD June Letters 2017

War on nature
RD: I would like to thank Dr. Av Singh for his timely article on glyphosates. Other than the dangers that he mentioned, there are some additional considerations:
    1. Once we have killed all the weeds that are susceptible to glyphosates the only weeds left will be the resistant ones. These will pose an even greater hazard. (This is analogous to the situation we have created with the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in humans leading to resistant “super bugs.”)
    2. Secondly, as everyone knows, glyphosates were originally discovered as a descaling agent for pipes and later found to have antibacterial properties. As we spread them (glyphosates) indiscriminately on our crops we do not know what they are doing to the bacterial life in the soil. Bacteria play a vital role in soil health. We kill them off at our peril.
    It is time to stop our “war on nature” and learn to live in harmony and holistically with all that nature has to offer.
Bruce Wright MD, FRCPC  
Bridgewater, N.S.

Seeking alder advice
RD: Would you happen to know the best dates in June to cut alders so that they won’t revive? I heard someone on the radio a couple years ago, I believe, mention after the leaves in June is the best time to do so. Hoping you can either confirm, or maybe give me some other helpful advice.     
Marnie Hazelwood
Torbrook, N.S.

(Marnie, the jury is still out on when best to cut alders so that they won’t revive. The majority of opinions gleaned from our readers indicates late August – preferably around or after the full moon. However, there are proponents for cutting in June, including the N.B. Department of Natural Resources and Energy, which did a study in 1985 that found cutting on the new moon in June to have better results than cutting on new moons in July and August. Dare we say this might be one case where there are as many opinions as there will be new alder shoots springing forth whatever time of year you cut… You can always consult DvL’s book Getting Rid of Alders (available at Rurallife.ca) for a more in-depth discussion. Good luck. MB)

Back seat reader
RD: This is a photo of my two-year-old, Deacon, who very much enjoys your magazine.
    My dad used to subscribe until he passed in 2013… so there are a few copies kicking around, and my son loves them.   
Gail Oickle
Pinehurst, N.S.

Primer from the past
RD: The “Bringing home the bacon” item on page 23 of your May 2017 issue makes me wish somebody would write a good account of operating one of the many small farms in the 1940s and 1950s.
    Many of the farms were slowly graduating from a horse operation to having a tractor too. It was a huge financial commitment to purchase a basic two-plow tractor with no frills and very few implements at first. The farm had to produce enough to pay for that tractor. At the same time, power and phones were coming in, so more had to be produced to pay for those conveniences. Not a lot of grain was produced until that tractor got plows. And that grain was reaped, stooked, and threshed. What a lot of work. A lot of mangels were grown for feed. Cream was sold and the skim milk was fed to the pigs. The number of cows on the place was limited by the hay you could grow (loose hay) and the manure you could pitch. Vegetables you could sell were worked and picked by hand and it might include a bean contract or a cucumber contract for a food processing plant. A few logs and a few cords of pulp were usually supplemented by a few cords of firewood to be sawed, split (no woodsplitter) and sold, all from the home place or from somewhere within walking distance for the horses. And remember that power saws were just coming in. Also, any doctor or hospital bills had to be paid from the production on the farm.
    I truly believe that a good understanding of what it was like would help our young generation to lower their expectations of what equipment and services it would take to farm within their means.
Charles Jess
Yarmouth, N.S.

Thrilled to read Vern again
RD: It was with surprise and pleasure to find Vern Faulkner’s article “Not to buy but borrow” in your last issue (April). We have missed Vern’s wit and humour since his sudden and unexplained departure from our Charlotte County papers. His passionate commentaries on politics from a local development perspective were always worth reflection. His stories about the challenges of DIY building an off-the-grid homestead were always entertaining. We are glad to see him joining the ranks of writers for RD, a great match in outlooks, and look forward to reading more from him in the future.
Beth Buerkle
Chamcook, N.B.

Opining on opinions
RD: I enjoy the magazine and usually read it front to back each month. I have even shared an opinion every so often. I have noticed that a couple of your letter writers recently have taken issue with your editorials (and Frank Macdonald too) for your criticisms of Donald Trump. I am sure I speak for the majority of your readers when I say, “Keep doing what you are doing.” We need to keep reminding people what’s going on down there and how it will affect us. 
    When memes on Facebook say things like “and the weather forecast is – tweet storms overnight and a 20 percent chance of apocalypse by morning,” what you have said is quite mild. I would certainly say that the ordinary politicians tend to ignore the working man, paying attention only once every four years, and then going and doing what they originally planned to do. However, this man in Washington and his crew are monumentally unqualified to do their jobs; they will change the world all right, and I am sure we won’t like the results!
    There – that’s my point of view. Again, make sure you and Frank keep doing what you do, with humour and insight. Thanks for all you do to keep us informed and “educated.”
    I just wanted to make two or three points relating to the April issue:
    1. Seed libraries – We are in the process of setting up a seed library in St. Andrews, N.B. It will be available for seed withdrawal on May 20. From what we understand, it will be the 12th in N.B. Maine has over 100! Thanks to Fedco, Salt Spring Seeds, and Hope Seeds for their donations!
    2. Swallows – In the early 1980s at our farm, it was normal to see up to four  dozen swallows on our power line in front of the house in August. By about 2010, we didn’t have any. The habitat at our farm didn’t change, so there must have been other causes – habitat where they migrated to, climate change, I just don’t know.
    3. Anne’s food column mentioned bagels close to St. Viateur Montreal bagels. If you want even closer to the real thing, substitute “potato water” for tap water. Potato water is the leftover water from cooking potatoes – the starch from the potatoes is maybe the “secret” ingredient in Montreal bagels? And, hey, in the picture, where are the sesame seeds or poppy seeds?
Mike Hutton
St. Andrews, N.B.

(Mike, thanks for sharing your thoughts. At a point I fear alienating readers who come to a publication like RD looking for relief from even talking about other than what’s growing or pecking about the yard — and really who can blame them?
It is deeply disconcerting to have a couple of children – one in age, the other by temperament – in a position to trigger unimaginable mayhem. 
    It is equally disturbing that our much-vaunted educational systems in the West and maybe world-wide fail to instill curiosity, skepticism, and concepts of critical thinking in our young people. Thanks again. DvL)

Rabbit up our sleeve
RD: A friend of ours gave us several issues of Rural Delivery. We found an article about French Angora rabbits in the November 2014 issue. The article is called “She’s knitting in class!” It says that one Angora rabbit can produce up to 400 ounces of wool in one year. We were wondering if there was a mistake there. The article was about Timothy, Dawna, and Emily Riding. We would greatly appreciate hearing if it was a mistake or not. If you cannot find out, please send us Timothy Riding’s address or phone number. We appreciate Rural Delivery.
Titus Gerber
Richmond Corner, N.B.

(Titus, according to Dawna Riding at Feathers and Fiber Microfarm, “Angora rabbits at peak would produce 454 grams of wool per year. It depends on the variety of Angora as well. French produce up to a pound but German can produce several pounds a year, and English are 10 ounces or so per year. There are five different varieties of Angora rabbit. Four of those are sanctioned for shows with the American Rabbit Breeders Association.         Four hundred ounces would work out to approximately 25 pounds of fibre, which could potentially come off of an Angora goat, but would still be quite a feat. With the goats it’s usually five to 15 pounds per year.” Hope that clears it up. MB)

Literary pedigree
RD: Thanks for the magazines. I give RD and Atlantic Forestry Review to my son now, so have not really stopped subscribing. Favourite childhood reading – van Loon’s Lives – what a surprise to find DvL is the grandson of the author.
Mary Burnett
Annapolis Royal, N.S.

Keep on keeping on
RD: We’d like to see an information update on bats and our future without them. The articles on bees were very interesting. Please keep “What’s that?” It’s very informative and we can learn about the past. 
    In the May issue, “Kitchen cleaning tips” was a great idea! Keep “Echoes” going. I love the info that someone took the time to find and more from the past. I was born in June 1950 and we always heard different music styles while growing up: country and western, classics, hymns, and rock and roll. Keep up the great work, we look forward to each new mag.
Sharon Holt
Petitcodiac, N.B.

From the heart
RD: I may not be a farmer but at heart I am. Your magazine keeps me fulfilled. Keep up the great work.
Tamara Duke
Long Point, N.B.

RD May Leters 2017

Squirrel be gone, in a nutshell
RD: I found a trap that works quite well with squirrels. It is a Woodstream gopher trap from Princess Auto. Take a walnut in shell and place it in triangular trigger and set. See attached photos.
Kelly Cheverie
East Point, P.E.I.

Thanks for the dissent
RD: Thank you for printing dissenting views in your magazine. John Earl and Ed Long both got their voices heard; I’m still reminded that Old Macdonald’s farm is in O-hi-o-hi-o! That pertains to the Great Lakes, phosphorous, and “protectionism.” For this reason I decide to renew my subscription. And not to be ironic, I thought also to study Small Scale Pig Raising, so find enclosed an order for that book! Thank you. 
Rusty Ephemeris
Cheltenham, Ont.

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RD April Leters 2017

More to blueberry prices
RD: The collapse in blueberry prices is certainly due to supply increases exceeding the growth in global demand (“More blueberries, lower prices,” Jan. RD, p.28). The situation in the Maritimes, however, has been worsened by an apparent structural change in price setting practices. This has resulted in the prices paid to growers falling relative to frozen product prices and compared to the prices paid to growers in other regions.  
    Since 2013, the Maritime grower price has declined from 70 cents to 30 cents. The first 10-15 cents or so of this 40-cent drop was not related to supply and demand but to the change in pricing. This is not a small matter. The cumulative loss for growers over the 2013, 2014, and 2015 crops roughly equates with the total returns growers realized from the 2016 crop. Furthermore, returns from the 2016 crop might otherwise have been about 30 percent more. 

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RD March Leters 2017

Hunting N.S. blueberries
RD: I just read the magazine, vol. 41 #7 (RD Jan.), and as usual was very impressed. I tend to eat a lot of blueberries when in season and was wondering where in Belleville, Ont., I might buy the frozen kind from Nova Scotia? I would rather not buy from out of country. Any idea, or could you place this message in the next issue and we could see what growers might have an answer? Thank you.
Dave Thornton
Roslin, Ont.

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RD Jan-Feb Leters 2017

Two cents’ worth
RD: I was just reading your article “Midden” in the April 2016 issue. One of your comments reminded me that when I came to Canada as a boy in 1957 I could buy a bottle of pop for 10 cents and would pay a two-cent deposit on the bottle. I could take the bottle back and get the deposit back. I was told that the bottle went back to the pop company to be cleaned and reused. As you mention, that kind of reuse seems better than smashing the bottles up and making new ones.
Patrick Ryall
Hubley, N.S.

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RD December Leters 2016

Advocating for agriculture
RD: I am a fairly new subscriber to Rural Delivery, and just wanted to write to tell you how much I enjoy it. I pass it on to the rest of my family when I am done with the current issue, and good conversation (sometimes heated debate!) always arises. 
    I am a small-scale homesteader (pigs, turkeys, chickens, rabbits, ducks, and horses) and 4-H general leader in the Barrington, N.S., area, and we struggle with agriculture here. I am originally from Shelburne (Welshtown), where my family has farmed for 200 years. As an advocate for agriculture in whatever shape or form it takes for you, I am grateful for the agriculture resource you provide. 

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RD November Leters 2016

Keeping the faith from afar
RD: Thanks for keeping faith and sending an issue past my subscription date! I don’t have a photo of myself doing the field and orchard work right handy, but this photo will give you a hint.
    Many years ago we moved to the U.S.A. (husband’s new job), so you can see just how much I have, and am, enjoying your publication. I am always amazed when you tackle yet another “hot potato.” Wish I had the time to jump into the fray!
Hannelore Gresser
Ojai, California

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RD October Leters 2016

RD: As a senior I appreciate the work you put into each magazine. In my childhood my parents subscribed to Family Herald until it closed. You have taken their place. My parents did much farming. Dad ploughed with one horse, disked, harrowed. When I look back, how many miles he walked to produce a crop of strawberries, potatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, squash. We kept chickens, ducks, geese, all organic produce, herbs, dill, thyme, etc. Milked two cows by hand, sent the milk to the creamery each morning. 
    I’m sending Rural Delivery as a birthday gift to a friend in Alberta who I’m sure will enjoy the magazine. She is from Lynedoch, Ont. Her grandparents raised tobacco, pork, and tapped maple syrup trees.
Lily Anne Polischuk-Slade
Simcoe, Ont.

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RD September Leters 2016

A correction
RD:  Thank you for the interesting July-August issue of RD which I always read as soon as it comes. I want to make a small correction to the identification of the bird caught in the net on your cover. This is not a “confused fall warbler.” It may be confusing to those who use a field guide to ID birds, but it is a female American goldfinch, which lives here all year round, not a warbler which migrates south in winter. The finch-shaped beak is the clue.   
    I would caution fruit growers who use netting to make sure they extract captured birds by pulling them backwards out of the net, retrieving them from the side they went in. If you put the palm of your hand on the bird’s back, and first and second finger around the bird’s neck at the back (the “bander’s grip”), pulling gently away from the net, the bird should come out easily. Make sure you don’t let it go until you are well away from the net, as birds in their panic will often fly right back in.  

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RD July-August Leters 2016

Pure, eh?
RD: Thanks for printing my letter as a thank-you to Shirley McGill re. her bread pudding recipe. I have a batch in the oven as I’m writing this. My neighbor Alonzo Sturgeon and I were surprised to each find the other’s submission in your magazine this month (RD May). A happy coincidence.
    You asked how I make almond milk.  This is what I do: I soak my California almonds (don’t use regular almonds, only those labeled California almonds, available at Bulk Barn) in a quart jar of water overnight in the refrigerator. They can stay there for several days, but you will need to rinse them each day. When you're ready to make almond milk, rinse the almonds six times with cold water. When I first started making almond milk, I used my blender, but as I found myself making it almost every day, we bought a Soyajoy G3 (soy milk maker).

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RD June Leters 2016

Bottled pears
RD: Received my copy of Rural Delivery May 3. Just finished baking the oatmeal cookies and will take them to Sequin Seniors this morning to eat while we dance and listen to the music provided by our talented members.
    Could you explain more about the pears grown in glass on page 34 (“Comparing apples to (organic) apples” RD May 2016)?
    A week ago we had a two-inch snowfall, yesterday mayflowers are up and blooming in the bush. I thoroughly enjoy your publication and hope to continue reading it for a long time.

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RD May Letters 2016

The source of seeds
RD: Has Rural Delivery thought of doing a story on the seed business, both international and local? Apparently there are two or three companies in the world which own most of the seed businesses. Seeds are grown in large acreages all over the world, maybe South Africa, maybe Israel, depending on climate for maximum production. Seed companies large and small order from these sources, then grow the seeds out in trials to see which ones work best in our climate. 
    To make ends meet, some small local seed companies may also be ordering some of their seeds from the same sources, repackaging, and not saying much about it. If you go to a Seedy Saturday event assuming that all seeds on offer are grown locally, you may be wrong. Some are and some aren’t. Apparently there’s more money in merchandising than in growing seed. 
Catherine Pross
Indian Path, Lunenburg, N.S.

(Catherine: A good suggestion. I am reminded of an account in a recent issue of Farming magazine (Mount Hope, Ohio) from a young intern on an organic farm in the U.S. who had to quit his good job when he was expected to repackage produce from far off places to look as if it was local farm-grown.  It may be worth simply looking the purveyor in the eye and asking, where was this grown? Where does this seed come from? DvL)

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RD March 2016 Letters

Getting rid of voles
RD: Does any reader have a suggestion for removing voles from a garden? We do not have, nor do we wish to have, a cat. We do not wish to use poison. We would like our share of the potato crop, which the voles put a considerable dent in last summer. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Bruce Blakemore
Purgatory Point, N.S.

(Bruce, I think of the late Arthur Vesey, founder of Vesey’s Seeds, who, when I asked what to do to about Corn ear worms, replied, “Grow more corn.” That way there would be enough to go around. I look forward to reading about what others do. DvL)

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RD Jan-Feb 2016 Letters

Taking time
RD: What an excellent article “Efficient enough” (RD Dec. 2015). Right on, extremely important to remember. It goes along with making time to sit and stare with mouth open in appreciation of a rainy day during haying, or a snow day when all the kids stayed home.
Marty Alpert
Antigonish, N.S.

Pleasure to read
RD: I just have to tell you that Gary L. Saunders’ article “Mars, anyone” (RD Nov. 2015) is about the best I’ve read on our collective situation on planet earth. It was so well-written, informative without ranting, and a pleasure to read and to contemplate. Rural Delivery continues to surprise and delight this Alberta subscriber (married to a Cape Bretoner). Thank You!  
“Bob’n the dogs” Chelmick
Onoway, Alta.

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RD December 2015 Letters

What comes around gets around
RD: This is a super magazine and when I am finished reading it from cover to cover – my brother is eagerly waiting for it. He enjoys it as much as I do! Many thanks and keep up the good work!
L. Robertson
Antigonish, N.S.

Dear L. Robertson, so very pleased you share your magazine with your brother. It would be fun to hear from other subscribers who share their copy around, and see if we can find the one copy that goes to the most households. DvL


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RD November 2015 Letters

Tenant farming returns?
RD: An issue plaguing agriculture today is how to encourage new and/or young people to become involved within the industry, and how can they be helped to succeed. A scheme that has been quite successful in the UK is “farm letting,” or “tenant farming.” For example, the UK National Trust, which owns 255,000 hectares in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, lets out 60 percent of their land to farmers, with the goal of supporting sustainable agriculture and to ensure that there are enthusiastic and skilled people involved with farming for generations to come.

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RD October 2015 Letters

Boring worm

RD: With reference to Patricia Thornley’s letter (“What’s killing apple trees?” Sept. RD), it sounds like she has a case of Apple tree borer, of which there are several, but most common around Nova Scotia.

    What you need to is get your trusty pocketknife sharp and put your Sherlock hat on. Take the top of the knife and cut away at the hole where the sawdust-like stuff is coming out. Remove the bark and follow the mined holes until you find the grub at the end. (The borer eats away at the cambium layer at will, eventually choking the tree to death.) 


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RD September 2015 Letters

RD September 2015 Letters

“Monstrosity” assailed
RD: I wholeheartedly agree with Frank Macdonald’s views (“Never Forgotten Memorial,” July-Aug. ’15 RD) on the building of a monstrosity on one of the most beautiful sites in the Cape Breton National Park. I fail to see how this type of development falls within Parks Canada’s mandate. I would be very curious to see the agreement between the developer and Parks Canada, as well as any correspondence between the government and Parks Canada on this matter. The sponsors of this ill advised project should be boycotted.
    Keep up the good work, hopefully it’s not too late to put an end to this nonsense.
Michel Béland
New Horton,N.B.

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RD July-August 2015 Letters

Rural schools clobbered
    Chignecto Central Regional School Board’s closure of Maitland, Wentworth, and River John schools (as of June 10) caused resignation and anger: resignation because N.S. Education Minister Karen Casey stated there was no appeal process, although communities were told otherwise; and anger at the betrayal of rural communities.
    Essentially committees of volunteers did the heavy lifting to develop rural hub schools that the board and the department should have done – with all its professional and highly-paid resources, and with information that it gave up only through a freedom of information application. Community volunteers tried to raise funds to repair and operate the schools, although they already pay taxes and the board deliberately delayed building maintenance for years while costs increased.

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RD June 2015 Letters

Who’s got the fat bean?
RD: In the May 2015 issue the Marrowfat bean is mentioned on pages 42 and 43 (photo). I am wondering if you know of anyone who can supply the seed for this bean. We have been talking with folks who say this is the best for baking and would like to be able to supply them with it and also try it ourselves.
Darlene Sutherland
Dover, N.B.

(Darlene,  Bruce Partidge who wrote “Beans are everywhere. .  .” found the Marrowfat bean at Hope Seeds in Granville Ferry, N.S., last year but not this. In reply to your question he writes, “I discovered that the Marrowfat bean is sold by the Victory seed Co. In Molalla, Oregon, 503-829-3126, and by the Vermont Bean Seed Co. in Randolph, Wisconsin, 1-800-349-1071. Hope Seeds could well have them again next year.”  DvL

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