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)

How to drill a crooked hole?
RD: For some years I have been using rams’ horns to make shepherd crooks, hiking sticks and walking cane handles. I now have a pair of horns from a billy goat, recently deceased, and a request to make shofars, a musical instrument used by Middle Eastern people. I’m having trouble knowing how to drill a hole through the horn. The horn is hollow for about 80 percent of its length and then is solid out to the point. It needs a 1/4” hole through this solid mass. Does anybody know how to drill a crooked hole?
Doug Perry
Wallace, N.S.

(A fascinating question, Doug. My first thought was to heat a curved rod and burn the hole, but no. That stinks. I did find the answer, I think, on YouTube. Whack off just about that 20 percent of solid horn – just short of where the hollow part begins – and drill a hole to fit your mouthpiece. DvL)

What farmers do
RD: Heartfelt thanks for the article about our farm and work (“Pocketing pig profits,” RD  Dec. 2015). The story showed great understanding about what we as farmers do. The detail and way it was written makes the content understandable to those who may not have the background or experience to help them relate. 
    I have read the article a couple of times because it is difficult to believe this is our life – what we do and I would say breathe.   
    With what seems like a constant attack against eating meat, or using animal products, butter, cheese, eggs, milk, etc., one is unsure of why we do what we do. Thank you for taking the time to educate people about what we and other farmers do.
Margie Lamb
Meadowbrook Farm
Berwick, N.S.

Looking back
RD: It was asked in the (renewal) notice what we readers would like to see in the magazine. I have a suggestion. Would like to see a page or two of past experiences;  reminiscing. Stories of hardships and stories of happy endings of times past. Holidays (though sparse in older days). Things personally done for others that made a difference. Remedies of those times that helped for common ailments. Just plain remembering the “looking back times.”
Anne Mol
Charlottetown, P.E.I.

(We could do that, Anne. We would ask for stories of 500 words or less, read them all and publish those we felt most readers would enjoy. Thank you for the suggestion. DvL)

Loves to knit
RD: The story written by P.G. Coburn in Rural Delivery (“Wearing my woolies,” Dec. 2015) brought to mind when I first learned to knit. I used to spend a lot of time with my grandmother Garron. One day she said I should learn to knit, so she got the needles and the yarn out. I can remember the yarn was a ball of red and one of white. She set the yarn on the three needles and used another needle. I knit the socks so tight I couldn’t wear them.  
    Then when I got married my mother -in-law said I had to knit the big double white mittens the fishermen wore to keep their hands warm when they were lobster fishing. Before we could knit the mittens we had to have yarn. So in the spring when her brother sheared his sheep we would get the fleece from him, wash it, dry it, then bring it in the house and sit and take small pieces of the wool and pick dirt, grass, etc. from it. When the fleece was ready we would pack it up and send to the Briggs and Little mill in New Brunswick to weave into yarn. We used double yarn (two strands) to knit the mitts.
    She also taught me to knit double-yarn gloves. I still have two pairs of the mitts. They are only 70 years old.
    From there I learned to knit fancy sweaters, baby outfits – sweater, bonnet, booties. They were presents to many babies on the Island. Many children had warm mitts to keep their hands warm. I continue to knit socks, hats, mitts, and gloves.
    The first time I knitted mitts with trigger fingers was when a young man came to my door and asked if I would knit a pair. I was game to try so got some yarn. With no pattern I went to work. I was a time doing them but I finally got them done. Now I knit quite a few. Just recently my son brought me orange yarn to knit a pair. He uses them on his boat. I knitted white ones last year but he wanted orange this time so he would know they were his.
    For some years I have knit hats for babies at IWK Hospital in Halifax. Had a letter from them asking for finger puppets. I will have to learn how to do them, I have no idea. My grandson gave me 10 skeins of yarn for Christmas so you know what I will be doing Already I have knit one pair of socks, two pairs of mitts. Some knitting is always down by my chair to pick up to knit. For a lady of 90 years I love to be able to continue with my knitting.
Alva McDormand
Westport, N.S.

Sharpening saws
RD: I’d like to know if you’ve ever written any articles in the past on properly sharpening and setting teeth on a bucksaw, bow saw blades (or even pruning saw blades) for firewood cutting. Is there someone in your province that is an expert on bow saw/bucksaw sharpening details, who may be willing to share information? I sure could use your leads. Also I could use plans for building a high quality poor man’s solar food dehydrator (that doesn’t require electricity) using hardware store, etc. items. 
Morris Nadeau
Terrace, B.C.

(Morris, let’s see if your call for an expert saw sharpener will be answered. Never know, we may get a pile of replies – or none. DvL)

Blather and folly
RD: It’s quite some time since you asked me if I knew of any scything competitors in Ontario here. Nope. I was very tempted to send a teaser saying I could whup the scythe off any contender, but seeing your latest article on this past summer’s competition cools my competitive blather and folly.
    I’d love to drag my feet out of this Caledon clay and travel to those events and learn the finer aspects of the scythe. Sharpen my skills so to speak. I lived in Nova Scotia for one year (could’ve stayed longer) so when I read your magazine, I travel back.
Rusty Ephemeris
Cheltenham, Ont.

2015 “Year In Review” reviewed
RD: I just wanted to say that I finished reading (from cover to cover) the 2015 “Year in Review.” Wow! In sure shows what DvL Publishing is all about. Awesome!
Lily Sampson
Mount Uniacke, N.S.

RD: LOVE the “Year in Review.”  Thanks!  
Ruth Richman
Cardigan, P.E.I.

RD: Congratulations to you and the team on a gorgeous-looking “Year in Review” edition. What an attractive, classy, top-quality publication full of interesting articles, colorful ads, and great photos – let’s hope it’s the first of many more to come. And thanks for the special shout-out.
David Palmer
Fredericton, N.B.

RD: This is awesome! Good reading, looks good, and feels good too. I hope it is well received.
Congrats on a great job!
Lisa Hines
Windsor, N.S.

RD: Just a short note to express our appreciation for the beautiful gift of your “Year in Review.” As with Rural Delivery, this publication will be around for many years, as it contains a compilation of many articles so interesting that we find ourselves re-reading many of them. Always look forward to the arrival of every issue of Rural Delivery.
Ron Eamer
Williamstown, Ont.

RD: Just wanted to pass on my congratulations for the “Year in Review.” Excellent publication and all those involved deserve a big pat on the back. Keep up the good work and say hi to Heather Jones for me. 
Andy Walker
Cornwall, P.E.I.