RD October Letters 2017

Blue in the face over blueberries
RD: There’s not enough coverage about 60 million pounds of N.S. blueberries. They say the price is low. Why can’t we buy them at the Atlantic Superstore, Sobeys, etc.? There’s lots of berries from down south. During September of last fall (2016) I spoke to the produce manager of Atlantic Superstore in Tantallon, N.S. All they had were excuses. I called Ontario – no luck. 

Read More

RD July-August Letters 2017

Something’s fishy
RD: I tried to discover if I could buy some river herring by means of telephoning Fisheries and Aquaculture, in the phone book as 426-9010, but the girl never heard of such fish. She then referred me to “Dartmouth” where the girl said she would ask regarding Gaspereau or river herring. Never heard of the fish herself. Now I got a bill for long distance; evidently the second girl was in Cornwallis Park, N.S.
    I mention the runaround in part because you might find it interesting to do an article, possibly relating to the dearth of herring generally. Is the Gaspereau River empty of kiack? It was once renowned for a square net fishery, the wide nets supported from above, on a limb or an A-frame or tri, like an engine from a truck tree lift.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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. 

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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. 

Read More

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

Read More

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.

Read More

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.  

Read More

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).

Read More

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.

Read More

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)

Read More

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)

Read More

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.

Read More

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


Read More

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.

Read More

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.) 


Read More