A NEWSLETTER FROM THE SALT SPRING ISLAND FARMERS' INSTITUTE This is the Farmers' Institute newsletter for August. Little more rain this summer. Still



This is the Farmers' Institute newsletter for August. Little more rain this summer. Still trying to find a parking spot downtown. Its been two weeks now.
Please FOLLOW THE BLUE LINKS TO WEBSITES OR VIDEOS. Below is a handy content list.


Events, Clubs, Updates
Our Community Remembers.............................................Thomas Joseph Grundy
The Compost Pile........................................................................Jokes For Everyone
A Simple Dehydrator.........................................................................Drying Your Fruit
The Apple Core........................................................................................Conrad Pilon
Famous Recipes....................................................................................Plum Chutney

SSI Farmers’ Institute Fall Fair

Celebrating 120 Years


The Institute wishes to invite all of Salt Spring Island to join us in celebrating The 2016 FALL FAIR. September 17th & 18th.
ADULTS - $10/DAY, 2 DAY PASS $13
SENIORS - Show your Care Card for a $1 refund per day
AGES 7 to 17 - $5/DAY, 2DAY $6

fall fair1
fall fair 2

The Sampson Display

Bittancourt Museum

by J. Fulker

Museum, This summer the museum has had more visitors than ever before and more offers of items to be donated. Despite our new addition we are already running out of space and so have to be careful about which donated items we can accept. One very interesting recent addition was donated by the Sampson family. Henry Sampson came to Salt Spring in 1859 and generations of the family still live on Salt Spring. Henry was the first constable on the island and was in charge of the first jail, at Central. The display consists of his handcuffs, the jail key, a black powder rifle, the chest used for his effects when he came to Canada from the UK in 1849 and large photographs of Henry and his wife Lucy. These things are now set up in the museum and worth a visit.
This Fall we are offering pay of $12 an hour for people to act as attendants at the museum for three days a week until the end of October. The days and hours are from Wednesday to Friday and from 11-am to 3-pm.
The days can be divided into two shifts per day , two hours per shift, or one person can do a whole day. If you know of anyone who might be suitable and interested please have them call John Fulker at 250-537-4895

Spinning Mill. Unfortunately I have had to make the decision to close the Gulf Islands Spinning Mill at the end of September. After eighteen years of personally supporting the mill in order to keep it operating, and as I am now in my eighties, I can no longer continue to do this. All existing processing orders will be completed before the mill closes, no more orders are being taken. I am contacting everyone that I know in the industry to see if I can find buyers for the machinery. The set up that we have is ideal for an individual farm wishing to process their own fibre and create a market for their finished products. It is not suitable for a commercial operation trying to provide a processing service to anyone and everyone who wishes to have their fleece processed. Profits come from the sale of finished products, not from the service fees for processing.
The mill has accepted orders from all over Canada and many parts of the western US. The staff have done their best to provide a good service to these customers and have had many customers coming back year after year. Particularly successful has been the production of wool or alpaca filled duvets and pillows. The closing is something that I do with great regret, but realistically the time has come for a change.
During the Fall Fair the mill will be open to visitors and all remaining finished products will be on sale at half price. Please visit us and thank the staff for their ongoing support, as I thank all of those who have given the
mill their support over the years.



The Farmland Trust still has ACREAGE AVAILABLE FOR LONG TERM RENTAL at Burgoyne Valley Community Farm 2232 Fulford-Ganges Road.

We are accepting responses to our Request For Proposals (RFP) for these three parcels.

For more information and to submit proposals:
Salt Spring Island Farmland Trust Society
107 Castle Cross Rd,
Salt Spring Island, BC V8K 2G1
email: ssifarmlandtrust@shaw.ca
250 537 5302

Please review the documents for:
1) Request for Proposals (RFP)
2) Memorandum or Agreement
3) Policies
4) Soil Analysis Report



(20’ x 50’) - $40 per year.
For info see www.ssifarmlandtrust.org
Review: Shaw Family Gardens Handbook
for rules and application form.
Email: ssifarmlandtrust@shaw.ca
or 250-537-5302

Clubs & Updates of Interest


The poultry club July meeting featured a chicken washing demonstration by Caroline Hamilton. Yes, even chickens get washed on occasion. Cleanliness is not so much the issue as appearance. The Fall Fair is coming up and we often get asked if the chickens need grooming before they are shown. It is really a matter of getting the birds to look their best. The fancier fluffy breeds, like Silkies, benefit the most. For the large APA (American Poultry Association) sanctioned shows that take place later in the fall in the Fraser valley and Coombs many breeders do wash their birds in advance. Also the feet, comb and beak may be oiled to bring out the colour and shine.

There has been a large demand for mature birds this year. We have seen many requests for "point of lay" pullets. The club is currently trying to get together a combine order for one hundred pullets from True North Poultry for delivery at the end of Sept.

Focus right now is on getting a good display set up for the Fall fair. There are duck and chicken eggs in the incubator due to hatch on the fair weekend.

Christine Clair will be showing her Australian Spotted ducks. This is a rare breed that she has been breeding with some success. https://livestockconservancy.org/index.php/heritage/internal/australian

We have had some good discussions on our email list, in particular about predator attacks. It seems that the aerial predators have been very active this year. Eagles, hawks, ravens, owls, minks, raccoons and the old family dog have all had their mention in the list of attacks this year. It seems that everyone likes to eat chicken.

On that note the island also saw its first Nova Rangers this summer. These are a meat breed of chicken hatched in Nova Scotia. They are breed to have the ability to forage and range well so as to produce a high quality free range roasting chicken. One hundred were flown in at the beginning of July. These will be ready for processing in Sept. Watch for the ads on the Exchange if you want to try one. There will be some shown at the fair. If the growers are satisfied with the qualtiy and growth of the birds we are hoping to bring in a larger number next spring.

caroline wash chicken 2

Caroline Hickman Washing Chicken

wash 3

More scrubbing



Learn to turn this


into this!



by Margaret Thomson

Since 1972 the Salt Spring Island Weavers and Spinners Guild has practiced,
publicized, demonstrated and taught their skills through member meetings,
public displays and group or private lessons for beginners of all ages. You
can watch spinning and weaving at the Fall Fair or try them out for

Yarn is simply fibres aligned in the same direction and twisted to give them
added strength. Once you've grasped the steps involved in making this happen
you can appreciate the many different styles of hand spinning tools, and
understand what a huge technical advance the spinning wheel was compared
with the drop spindle. Sign up at the Weavers and Spinners demonstration
tent for lessons in basic drop spindling using simple tools that you could
make, and pick up a small sample of prepared wool. Any yarn you make will be
yours to take home.

Try your hand at weaving a few inches of cloth on a table loom. You could
supply your own yarn or use something chosen from the Guild's supply. If
you'd like to keep the sample you make it will have to wait until the entire
warp is used up, which may take a few weeks.

Beginner spinning lessons will be offered at the High School at 7 pm on the
first Tuesday of October, November, January, February and March. The lessons
are free but preregistration will be required. Weaving lessons are being
planned and will be advertised through the local media. There will be a
small registration fee to cover room rental and supplies. Watch the local
media for more details, and talk to the volunteers at the tent and in the
Annex about the Guild's year round activities.



by Kelly Johnson
Honey Bee Time on Salt Spring Island
There will be zero honey for sale this year from our hives. Some old time bee keepers agree there are never two honey years in a row, and certainly last year the honey was abundant for most of us on the island.
The Spring was great for the bees with the weather drier and warmer than normal. Some bee keepers even had the privilege of spinning rare maple honey this year. Fruit trees and berry blossoms came next and the fruit is certainly abundant thanks to the pollinators. As usual we then waited with bated breath for the blackberry blossoms to open, this is normally a bit of dearth period for the bees. Sadly the weather cooled, and temperatures did not cooperate. Blackberry blossoms require 22 degrees for the nectar to be accessible to the honey bees.
Many bee keepers have been feeding their hives on and off this season since late spring. Certainly late summer truly is a dearth period for the bees in a normal year, and now we are feeding our bees too. Mite loads have been high this year too, and we’ve had to treat our hives accordingly more than we ever have in the past years. It seems it is not easy being a bee keeper or a honey bee for that matter. Zombie bees have been reported in Nanaimo recently which is a worry for us all.

What can you do to help? There is a lot you can do. All pollinators appreciate a tree or bush that blooms late summer to early fall, especially in a year where the blackberry fails for the bees. There are many perennials and annuals that are great, and the bees depend on all these plants, the taprooting perennials and the short lived annuals. Each year we add another bush or two, or a tree that will bloom when it seems nothing else is blooming. Last year we planted a linden tree, black locust and two Korean Bee Bee trees.

Why plant trees for bees? Well trees are large long lived plants which owing to their size and extensive root system are capable of withstanding short term weather variations better than annual or even perennial flowering plants. Trees are much more resistant to drought conditions (after the first year), and quite often will tend to bloom effectively in spite of the weather. Thankfully there are trees which bloom throughout the warm seasons. I have chosen to talk about some of the top bee trees (producing a major nectar source) from spring to late summer.
Years ago my dad saved seed from a black locust (robinia pseudoacacia) tree he admired in Ontario. I recently discovered the old envelope in a drawer full of the seeds and managed to get two trees growing. We planted one along the creek bed and it is really taking off. Black locust is a major source of nectar for the bees in May and June, is great for erosion control, and grows quickly in poor soil. The Black Locust is often one of the first trees to sprout on disturbed ground. This locust is well adapted to harsh environments. As a member of the legume family it takes advantage of a symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria to fix nitrogen from the air the same as peas and beans. Black Locust trees require well drained soil. The trees will grow better with some fertility but are tenacious enough to survive the most difficult locations. Beekeepers love Black Locust for the profusion of flowers it provides each spring that smell of orange blossoms.

Black Locust has a few negatives. It is thorny when young, it is prone to root suckers which will require regular mowing to control, and mature trees are affected by a borer that shortens the life of the tree. If you have livestock this may not be the tree for you as the seed pods are toxic as are the leaves and bark.
Black Locust Blossoms:
Black Locust in bloom
American Linden (Tilia americana) or Basswood trees produce prized honey in Germany. The tree is a medium to fast grower and can easily reach 3′ in diameter and 80′ to 90′ tall. The fragrance is absolutely amazing and the bees went crazy this year for the linden blossoms which have a citrus scent. The leaves are heart shaped and the tree is quite beautiful. Linden blossoms are a major source of nectar for the bees in late spring to early summer.
Korean Bee Bee Tree (Tetradium daniellii Evodia hupehensis)
I heard about the Bee Bee Tree a few years back but was unable to find one locally or even in BC. We sourced the trees through Forest Farm in Portland. We now have one of each and they are doing well blooming in their second year. The shape is similar to a hazelnut tree and it 25-50 feet tall depending on the site. Bee Bee’s healthy glossy green foliage is followed by flowers during it’s main bloom period in July and August with sporadic blooms through October. Bloom clusters are large and quite fragrant, filling the area with their rich perfume. Bee Bee blooms are very attractive to bees and are a tremendous source of honey. The nectar from the Bee Bee can range from 44% to 64% sugar. Bee Bee flowers are also a good pollen source. After blooming the flower clusters turn a very attractive red and are quite showy through the fall. The Bee Bee produces many shiny black seeds that are relished by birds. Bee Bees will produce more flowers in full sun, but can tolerate partial shade.They need a moist, well drained soil. Beauty and productivity are the by words of the Bee Bee Tree.

Two trees we are going to plant this year hopefully in the Fall, are Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum)and Catalpa.
Sourwood is a beautiful flowering tree with delicate white flowers during June and July depending on the location. This long bloom period is the source of the much beloved Sourwood Honey. Sourwood is not fond of wet feet but will do well on most well drained sites. Being a medium sized tree (20 to 30 feet tall), it will flower and color best with full sun. A fountain of flowers cascading from the treetops is the best description of this native tree. With the onset of cooler weather and shortening days the leaves burst forth into a breathtaking display of burgundy and red. One of the first trees to color in the fall it becomes a real standout among the fading greens of late summer. Even in the depths of winter the mature tree adds interest to the landscape with its deeply furrowed bark.
Catalpa Tree:

Catalpa trees or Indian Bean tree, they are often called, are huge beautiful shade trees and provide late summer food for the bees. We have western exposure on our property and in fact, need more shade as the summers seem to be getting hotter. Catalpas have large leaves that cast a deep shade and they can grow 30′ to 70’tall with some reaching 100′. They produce magnificent clusters of flowers that cover the trees for about two weeks each year in early summer. As summer progresses, the flowers give way to long bean like pods which turn from green to a rich dark brown in fall somewhat resembling a long cigar.
At the back of Pharmasave downtown facing the parking lot, there is a mature silk tree mimosa (albizia julibrissin) that has been blooming forever it seems, providing food for the bees in late summer. Our neighbour has a silk tree so we won’t plant one, but if you have a protected area, the silk tree is fast growing, enjoys rich well drained soil and can tolerate some drought. It can grow about 20-30 feet tall and they are beautiful.

We also considered a Tulip Tree but don’t have space for more than a few large trees.

Tulip Poplar- Lirodendron tulipfera is a giant of the eastern forest and is a member of the Magnolia family, known by many local names such as, Yellow Poplar, Poplar, Tulip Tree, Tulip Wood, Tulip magnolia, and Whitewood.

Tulip Poplar Leaves

Tulip Poplar Flowers
The overall shape of the tree is an even pyramidal when young, very like a deciduous Christmas tree. During the summer you get a fast growing, green shade tree and in the Fall your Tulip Poplar leaves turn to bright yellow. The Tulip looking flowers give you a delightful fragrance of nectar that you'll enjoy all spring long. This nectar even attracts birds - including ruby-throated hummingbirds, cardinals and finches - and other small wildlife. Very easy to grow and highly adaptable to a variety of soils - even grows in wet soil! A young tree will begin to bloom at 10 to 12 years of age so buy an older tree if you want blooms earlier. The flowers are large tulip like flowers with large greenish yellow petals surrounding a golden yellow center. Beekeepers know these large flowers contain a tablespoon of nectar each. Bees love Tulip Poplar flowers for this nectar and the abundance of pollen in each of the thousands of flowers. Enough honey can be produced during the bloom to make “Poplar Honey”, a rich, strong, dark colored honey.

A continuous source of bee friendly flowers will help you to do your part to keep our local bees healthy and thriving. Saving bees starts with each of us doing our part by providing food where we can, so plant trees!



by Loretta Rithaler
The SSI 4H Community Club has held its regular monthly club meetings in the months of May, June and July. Always difficult to fit so many things in with such busy youth schedules nearing the end of the school year, but they did very well with attendance and participation in as much as possible.

Sheep and Poultry Clubs –The Sheep and Poultry members have met regularly, at least once per month, to review topics such as health care, husbandry skills, showmanship practice and of course all that is needed to begin preparations for upcoming fairs.

May – The seven Sheep Project members have all received their lambs for the project year. They will be very busy from here forward, learning new skills, monitoring the progress of their project growth and learning more skills and becoming more confident in their knowledge relating to animal husbandry and showmanship. So much time, effort and hard work goes into these projects, and becomes part of their daily routine.

The classes of animals cover: market lamb, black faced ewe, white-faced ewe, wool-type ewe and yearling ewe. These lambs are several different breeds, including: Suffolks, Southdown, Hampshire Crosses, Cheviot Crosses. This is a great variety for such a small group, so there is lots of information to share.

Several members of the Sheep Project attended a Project Day at the invitation of the Saanich 4H Lamb Club at the end of May. The day was spent learning new skills and practicing things like “flipping” their sheep, trimming, and other showmanship skills. Having clubs meet together is always a great way to share knowledge and experience among the members, as well as a great way to meet new friends with like interests.

May 28 – District Judging Field Day – This annual event, held at the Saanich Fair grounds, was attended by 6 of 7 intermediate and senior members, who did very well in this event, with all members receiving ribbons to bring home. They judged a variety of 9 different classes, including photography, halters and sheep. This is always a great learning experience and a lot of fun to network and visit with friends and leaders from other clubs across the District.

Cloverbuds - The Cloverbuds have met regularly, once per month and have been working on such topics as honeybees, outdoor explorations, gardening, record-keeping, and planning for entries in the upcoming SSI Fall fair. They hav also been recording the results of their flower bee gardens. These young people have such fun ideas – please look for them during the fair. The project leaders have done a great job accommodating varying schedules, encouraging participation and creativity, as well as welcoming the many siblings in this small group – sometimes the group is tripled…. That’s called “growing 4H”. … we’ve got a good thing growing!

Photography – The photography project group is small this year, but they have been busy recording 4H club activities and hope to present a great display at the upcoming fall fair – see the 4H building on the fairgrounds – it will be located next to the 4H animal barn.

We will have some guest 4H clubs participating in this year’s SSI Fall Fair – please welcome them and come see their fantastic entries – they will be bringing poultry, woolcraft, and who knows what else!

Now everyone is busy preparing, cleaning, trimming, practicing, etc for the SSI fall fair, which will be our Club’s Achievement day.

Please come and watch the sheep show in the big ring as well as poultry, rabbit, photography and visiting display entries in the 4H area.

Hope to see you all at the fair!


Thomas Joseph GRUNDY July 25, 1928-June 12, 2016

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Thomas Joseph Grundy, on Sunday, June 12, 2016, at the age of 87 years. Tom’s extraordinary life began on the day he was born, when he came into the world in the midst of wild horses thundering around him at the Hand Hills Lake Stampede near Hanna, Alberta. To have known Tom with his signature white cowboy hat (always tilted ever so slightly to the side), was to admit to a nostalgic era of by-gone days where the character of a man was not measured by what he said, but by what he did. It was a lifetime of character-defining moments that made this man so precious to those who knew and loved him. A journalist summed up Tom best when she wrote; “People write ballads about personalities like Tom Grundy. Nothing of his life is mundane; big wins, big losses, big struggles and big heart”.

When he was 14 years old, Tom’s mother, Sadie, passed away. Being the eldest, Tom left home to work and support his brothers and sisters, while his father was off working as a farmhand and labourer. It was from that time forward that Tom embarked upon a lifetime of adventure, from southern Alberta as a ranch hand on the Bennion Family Ranch, to building bridges in Lethbridge and on the Skeena River, to the oil fields of the Canadian Badlands.

No one had a love of horses like Tom. They were a significant constant throughout his life and a passion of his, from the time he was two years old until his passing. Tom rode horses for much of his life in-spite of some significant health setbacks and when he was no longer able to ride, he could be found leaning over a hitching post, giving instruction and offering gentle guidance to a rider or a problem colt. One of his favourite stories to tell was how he rode his big bay mare, Sunday, through the back door of the Rimbey saloon, up to the long bar and ordered a drink. Another story he loved to tell was about how he rode from the stampede ranch with 150 horses, forging rivers and felling trees to build makeshift corrals for over 200 miles to the Calgary Stampede.

Tom was in love with and happily married to his soul mate, Judy Grundy, and this past June 1st they quietly celebrated 48 years of matrimonial bliss. In their later years, Tom and Judy became pillars in the Salt Spring Island Lions Club where Tom was recently given the Humanitarian award for his enduring service in helping others less fortunate in the community. Tom was also a member in good standing with the local legion and could be found there from time to time enjoying a “beverage” with friends.

Tom is survived by his wife, Jeltje “Judy”, his sisters, Janet Stout, Anita Alderwood, Pearl Stout (Jim), Grace Stout (Ted) and his family; Donald (Alda), Shane (Lana), Shevaun and Liam, Todd (Lynette), Austin, Tristin; James (Francisco), Jennifer and Ciele, Jayden; Robert (Kathy), Ellen (Clay), Lucas; Graham (Bonnie), Samantha (Chris), Shelby (Brian), Damien, Owen, and Haley; Michael (Angela), Brittany and Levi, Chanel and Mikhaela; Colleen (Kerry), Sheldon, Petr, Emily and Grace; Susan (Miles) and Olivia. He is predeceased by his parents William and Sadie, brothers Bill and Fred, brother-in-law Tom Stout and grand daughter, Lexi Jade.

Tommy was special to all who knew him and quick to offer a handshake and a smile. To his family, he was more often than not a quiet, considerate man who never spoke poorly of others and lead by example. He insisted that family take care of one another and love each other. He was a husband, brother, father, grandfather and uncle who was loved deeply and will be missed greatly.

Happy trails cowboy, until we meet again.





Here is a very simple dehydrator you can make for free.
Paint the interior of an one open box black, cover with saran wrap or a plastic sheet, cut some holes in either end, make a elbow and tape it to another box with holes in the side. Place the fruit to be dehydrated in that box and cover with a cloth.
Voila, dried fruit!..My friend George is very skeptical about how long it will take. I can only say slice that fruit thin and don't talk to George.
Please send in photos of your finished dehydrators and we will publish them in the next newsletter.


Maybe Dr. Who can help

The Apple Core

By Conrad Pilon

Apple Fire Blight

Apple Fire Blight, Part 2, Treatment and Remedies.

In the last issue of the Cultivated Farmer, I wrote about my coping with fire blight, the bacterial disease (not a fungi) that can kill blossoms, new green shoots, branches, and sometimes, in my experience, entire apple trees. I briefly described that weather conditions, blossom time and other circumstances will 'encourage' episodes of fire blight bacteria in the orchard and how to identify infected trees. This time around I want to discuss strategies that I use to combat fire blight in my orchard before it spreads and becomes contagious and deadly.
I encourage readers to search the net and take a look at the range of manageable and organic preventative measures. The sources and methods are far and wide, lots of nurseries advertisements and commercial products, so I would recommend focusing on agricultural studies/research papers published by credible sources.

Resistant Varieties.
First, I look for resistant varieties. There are cultivars (apple varieties) that are less susceptible to fire blight disease than others. A number of recent studies provide charts on the susceptibility of apple varieties, they are worth consulting. However, two elements come into play here.
One, as per my last article, there are a number of other factors which facilitate the spread of this disease, so specific resistant cultivars are not a guaranteed solution. Though they are certainly a good start. I will not replant McIntoch, Lodi or Wealthy apple trees, the risk is too high. So I look for proven resistant varieties such as Dolgo crab apple , Liberty and Northern Spy.

Two, most apple trees are two different plants grafted together. The variety name you see on the plant label typically describes the scion. The rootstock is the underground part of the tree. Ideally, both scion and rootstock would have resistance to fire blight. Among rootstocks typically available to backyard orchardists, M7 is somewhat tolerant to fire blight, while M26 and M9 rootstocks are more susceptible. If you are planning a new planting, it is worthwhile to seek out nurseries that offer trees on fire blight-resistant rootstocks.

Avoid Heavy Winter Pruning.
Second, I avoid heavy pruning, particularly in he winter time. Apart from the fact that it overstimulates vegetative growth in the spring, the pruning cuts do not heal properly during our 'wet coast' dormant season and remain an 'open' invitation to the spread of infection. In the winter, I do prune out diseased or crossing branches of course and overwintering cankers, but I do most of my pruning in the summer.
Other preventative measures using your pruning shears include the following. Paying attention to water spouts (suckers) and pruning them as they are good entry points for fire blight; and, regular patrols of the orchard during blossom time for blossom infections. Removal of infection at his stage significantly reduces the impact of the disease later on in the season.

Cut and Burn.
Third, as soon as I discover fire blight, I prune off the infected branches (about one foot, 30 cm) below the diseased section and burn them to prevent further infection. I also dip my pruning shears in a bleach (or alcohol) solution between each cut to avoid spreading the disease from one branch to another. As a final solution, if the tree is severely infected, I will cut it down and burn it. To avoid spreading infection in the orchard, it is the only solution. Fortunately, this radical remedy is usually applied primarily to younger trees, my older trees do recuperate from my green 'tree surgery' efforts.

Lastly, some sources recommend the application of liquid copper or other chemicals as effective remedies/preventative treatments for this problem. You can find application rates/references suitable for the disease pressure in your orchard, but it must be done early. I cannot advise you on the outcomes or recommend products, as applying any chemical remedies to bacterial diseases is not something I do at Oscar's Meadow Orchard. In the end, nature decides.


Famous Recipes

Plum Chutney

What to do with all those plums? FEAR NO MORE!. This is some tasty

4 1/4 cup diced plums
1/4 Cup Ruby Port
1/4 Cup HoneyHoney'
1/4 Cup Dried Cherries
1/4 tsp green cardomon
Boil and reduce heat to a simmer until thick
Add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

AUG/SEPT., 2016