RD November Letters 2017

Down in the garden
    Unique voice
RD: Thank you so much for providing a voice for the little pockets of reality that seemed to be barred, in some unconscious way, from other media.
    I enclose a cheque for my renewal. Keep growing small.
Mark Connell
Sussex, N.B.

Keep cranking
RD: We are glad to see DvL is still writing. He sounded a bit cranky in the September issue, as did David Lindsay, which makes better articles. We look forward to Fred Isenor, and also hope to see Frank Macdonald in the line-up more often.
    Keep publishing good stuff.
Ruth Reed
Larder Lake, Ont.

RD: Have enjoyed RD since the first one, would hate to miss an issue. Thank you for carrying me along. A lot of helpful information, even if I don’t always agree with a lot of food for thought.
Muriel Smith
Shinimicas, N.S.

Welcome to Canada
RD: Thank you for finally utilizing (at least some) Canadian spelling. You’re my favourite magazine.
    Excellent article: “A quiet word on forestry.”
Kevin Kay
Granville Ferry, N.S.

Repeating history?
RD: Gary Saunders’ response (in Letters, RD Oct. 2017) to Zach Metcalfe’s excellent piece on Crown forests (“A quiet word on forestry,” RD Sept. 2017) was to give us the most depressing (and true) history of our forestry efforts since Champlain’s landing in the early 1600s. While he’s right to say that modern clearcutting isn’t to blame for the forest’s demise, what is to blame for it is our total disregard for this history. As per Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity, we’re doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
    Gary gives excellent reasons for his dislike of large-scale, cut-and-plant agri-forestry, and then perplexingly gives three (actually four) reasons for its continued existence.
    To say that it’s cheap and profitable is rather simplistic. It puts wood to roadside cheaper than thinning, but only at the onset. After that, it’s very expensive to restore those sites to productive forest. Our best efforts in that regard are to produce fibre farms, not forests. Today, profitability is for the mills only, as world lumber and paper prices are at an all-time high, and returns to woodlot owners and operators are the same as 20 years ago. Any student of inflation can tell you that those are 50-cent dollars into the primary producers’ pockets.
    With most of N.S. forests in private hands, legislating better forestry would be difficult, but not impossible. What about Crown lands though? Government does have the power to direct better forestry on those lands, but chooses not to do so. As the late Dr. Creighton used to say, the Department should be leading by example, and they’re not.
    Selection forestry is best when working with the long-lived, multi-storey, shade-tolerant, high-value Acadian forest species, but it is not restricted to those “in short supply” areas. Some of us are having very good luck restoring less-than-desirable areas – to everything but the high-value part. That will come in time, but most aren’t willing to wait, as we’re the “What’s in it for me?” generation. 
    The massive land clearing that went on from the start is a fact, but then we continue with the degradation, as demand dictates. Just because we want something, doesn’t mean we have to fill that demand. Our wasteful paper demand can be met from elsewhere – or we could do the unthinkable, and try to cut back on our usage. Our forests and their many residents would silently thank us.
    And Gary’s right – it’s a wonder we have any of our forest left. What’s left, though, is a mere shadow of what it could be if we had more resolve. The last government did not fail to reverse the ongoing trend of the race to the bottom. That distinction goes to the Department of Natural Resources. With pulp mill guys at the helm, the removal of the one true champion (in a long time) for a better forest, former Minister John MacDonnell, and the total ignoring of the wishes of the people through the Forest Strategy, this department is challenging the amazing natural resistance of our remaining forest lands. 
    Anyone in control of our forests is definitely ignoring its history and thinking only of themselves. We need to wake up; our world needs true long-term thinking, as we’re in very tumultuous times.
Tom Miller
Green Hill, N.S.

On the flip side
RD: I enjoyed your October article about Rudy Haase. I was disappointed, however, by your comment: “asphalt baron Carl Potter is busy turning Haddon Hill into an equine Spruce Meadows East” (“Potluck, Farewell Rudy”).
    Jackie (Potter) and Brad Rusaw and their family have been developing Coveside Stables for some time now. The Rusaws are a down-to-earth, community-minded family who work phenomenally hard. They share their amazing facility with other members of the horse community on a regular basis, hosting equine events that welcome kids and novice riders as well as higher-level competitions. Dirk, please do your homework before making flippant comments about others.
Lesley Whynot
Hammonds Plains, N.S.

(Lesley, it is good to be taken to task. My personal attitude toward displays of wealth had no place in a tribute to Rudy and Mickie Haase and their generosity. DvL)

Magazine and photo that keeps on giving
RD: I really enjoyed Zack’s article. (“A quiet word on forestry,” by Zack Metcalfe, RD Sept. 2017.) Thanks for the photo.
Eric Hurlburt
Charlottetown, P.E.I.

RD: I also loved the picture of the Saw-whet owl in your Sept. issue. I think it would make a great puzzle picture. The tree would be a challenge for sure.
    I would love a digital file of the photo to enjoy. Kudos to the photographer!
    I enjoy your magazine, which is repurposed from my mother-in-law. Looking forward to the next edition.
Millie Day
Meaghers Grant, N.S.

(Millie, we’re happy to send you a digital file of that remarkable owl photo and to anyone else requesting it by mail or email to dvlmagazines@gmail.com. Of course, we would also be happy to sell you a subscription to RD if you don’t want to wait so long for the next issue – although we are, in principle, very much in favour of repurposing.  DL)

I quit
RD: I tried to find out where to buy Gaspereau recently, and from Fisheries, nobody knew, even when I was given a long distance number way down on the South Shore. So I asked RD: “Is river herring a trade secret?”
    I gave up sports fishing – too much management, wardens, season openings, moving down and up stream, invasion of privacy. Similarly, I recently received notice my gun permit is expiring and I can’t even find the 12-gauge a store owner gave me for painting because he ran out of money. A guy I had known for decades arrived to say he sold three long guns and a security cabinet for $600 instead of reapplying. It too became a circus, wardens here with night vision spyglasses.
    I am delighted we have a gun registry, having read in Freakonomics about crack dealers at war, and the investigative reporter and South Florida’s Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiaasen’s editorials (in book form) on the gun lobby buying politicians with “contributions.” 
    My interest in Gaspereau was “Can I buy some reasonable?” since the stores do not sell any, and if a few – at four times their worth. It is easier to buy saltwater bass from Manila Harbour in any big store than kiack. Plus, I eat the roe, and fishmongers remove it. 
    I did notice that gun lovers fascinated by firepower and ballistics, projectile drop, etc., hang around gun dealers. Some become suicides using guns. A student who once hitched with me to an iron mine in the Sept-Îles hinterland shot dogs eating wild duck eggs before he shot himself much later. 
    I would like to get green hops, if anybody makes beer with them.
Dan Hogan,
Lawrencetown N.S.

Clean the deer away
RD: I have been a subscriber now for many years and have read many great tips for the gardener and farmer in your publications. Here is one that I put together myself to try and protect my seedling fruit trees from deer damage. 
    On the edge of a small bush and corn fields, I have about a three-acre plot, out of my 27 acres, where I planted the small orchard, consisting of 18 trees like apple, pear, plum, and sour cherries. The apples and cherries seemed to be the only trees bothered by the deer. Having planted the seedlings three years ago when they were about two or three years old, I soon found that the deer in my area liked to munch on the young newly sprouted leaves when the corn in the field was not available to them. The trees would grow about three to four inches, then all of a sudden the tips of the branches were bare, and the whole growing process would have to start over again. 
    This year I went and bought some cheap tampons and I soaked them in Pine-Sol or similar type cleansers for about one week. I then hung them on a lower branch of the fruit trees, so that the solution would not drip onto the leaves or branches below it. After a few heavy rains I would go around with more of the solution in a jar and soak the tampons for about 15 seconds. Now, after four weeks, I have noticed only about 12 to 18 leaves were chewed off the branches, so I figure that my idea worked just fine. I hope this helps for other readers.
Dave Thornton
Roslin, Ont.