RD October Leters 2016

Giving the gift of RD
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.

Scything thanks
RD: I would like to personally thank you for putting on a great event again this year.
     Hélène and I both had a great time at the Maritime Hand Mowing Championships. All the competitors were excited and full of drive to mow, learn, and share what they knew. The layout seemed to be more organized, from my standpoint anyway; with the printed schedule I knew where to be when. 
    The field was the best we’ve ever had: no weeds, nothing lodged, and more than enough to mow that we didn’t run short. I don’t think I’m the only one who mowed rocks, but that will always be a problem in Nova Scotia. Could you please pass on my thanks to Rural Delivery, the museum, and judges Cathy, David, and Linda. Without their dedication and efforts the competition just wouldn’t be.
     Again thank you for all the work you put into this, year after year.
Peter Redden
Lawrencetown, Annapolis Co., N.S.

Wants ads
RD: Wondering...there seems to be a lot of advertisements in Rural Delivery online, but not so many of these advertisements are in the printed edition. Wondering why? Also, there does not appear to be much in the way of people selling or asking to buy poultry.
Winston Baker
Southampton, N.S.

Winston, I don’t know about on-line ads, and as for poultry, we generally have a smattering among the classifieds but nothing consistent. Maybe your note will help spark more interest. Thank you. DvL 

Fired up
RD: Fort McMurray: I told you so! The Fort McMurray fire, May 2-3 etc., was completely avoidable. How can I say that? Fire requires oxygen and fuels at ignition temperature. The municipality and homeowners have coniferous trees among homes, factories, streets, and parks. Why? 
    I’ve been studying plants since age eight, and at the University of New Brunswick biology department and Fire Science Centre learned that conifers are at their lowest water content in spring. The leaves and bark, even the organic soil, contain oils, resins, waxes, and carbohydrates (UNB thesis, 1982) that will burn when the tree is living, at normal water content. This is not true of our deciduous trees and shrubs. I have held burning paper to living blueberry, birch, and aspen, and they do not catch fire. Hold a lighter to a watermelon and you waste your time.
    Was the Fort McMurray fire unique? Not at all. We get big fires like this every year in Canada (and Russia). It’s the very nature of the Boreal coniferous forest. Take note: all conifers need to be removed (recycled to firewood) and a wide firebreak made. Reindeer lichens have to be raked away, as these fine fuels, like long dry grass, can be very flammable. Had homeowners done this, they could have saved their homes from embers with garden hose and wet broom. Why do Canadian municipalities not use basic published science and existing experts? You tell me! We bumble from one crisis to the next, the human condition.
Robin Tim Day
North Augusta, Ont. 

Sheep tales
RD: I would like to contact the person who has North Ronaldsay sheep (“Rare breeds renaissance,” Rural Delivery July-August,  page 24). I have some interesting and amusing stories to tell! 
    They were frightened that an oil spill from new oil wells off the Island could destroy all the breed, as they were only in one place and I think under 500 in number.
Ann Wootton
Stratford, P.E.I.

Six years and growing
    I knew that subscriber Bruce Blakemore had grown artichokes in the past, so when my own first attempt to grow the thistles this summer resulted in one of four plants putting out three very small blossoms in September, I emailed her to ask if that was all I should expect. She replied:

    I planted my current batch of Globe artichokes (four plants) in 2010. I used the variety Imperial Star from William Dam because they are the most reliable for producing chokes the first year. 
    That year the plants did not produce until September but now they come up sometime in April or early May and start producing in June. The primary buds are large (softball) and the side shoots are smaller. Kind of like broccoli.
    Six years later they are still producing full blast. This year we had the first ones in June, and they continued till the end of August with minimal watering. Now we have let them go to seed. They have beautiful purple thistles which the bees are enjoying.
Sometime in the next four to six weeks I will cut them back, give them compost, and mulch them for the winter.
    It is hard to judge how anything grows in this bizarre dry and hot summer. We had a bumper crop of peas but poor beans. Long skinny carrots. Good winter squash but poor zucchini. Beautiful potatoes but not many of them. And so on.
Bruce Blakemore
Purgatory Point, N.S.

    Thank you, Bruce. Maybe the bizarre summer is to blame for but one of four artichokes coming into bloom. They are not Imperial Star. The package says Green Globe Improved. Hmm. DvL

A taste of RD
RD: I always enjoy reading our Rural Delivery magazines cover to cover, and each year in summer take them to be reread and recycled to a couple of friends who are young farmers in Connecticut. They too enjoy the articles and find helpful hints, recipes, and info that they share with their dad and other New England farmers. At last, I have found the time to write and send a couple of recipes. I hope other readers will find them as simple and tasty as I do. 
Roberta MacDonald
Oakland, N.S.  

    Thank you, Roberta. Readers can find and enjoy your recipes in “Household Notes” (page 40-41). DvL

Wants her own subscription
RD: My neighbour reads my Rural Delivery and would like one of her own. She loves the recipes as I do too. I try a lot of them and they’ve always turned out well. Thank you. Keep up the good work. There’s nothing like getting a magazine from home. We are from Tatamagouche, N.S.
Irene MacKinnon
Burks Falls, Ont.