A NEWSLETTER FROM THE SALT SPRING ISLAND FARMERS' INSTITUTE This is the Farmers' Institute newsletter for April. Seems like its already summer. Plea



This is the Farmers' Institute newsletter for April. Seems like its already summer.
Please FOLLOW THE BLUE LINKS TO WEBSITES OR VIDEOS. Below is a handy content list. My apologies for a somewhat vertical head turner in Part 3 of the Apple Core. Our technical department is still working on it.


120 Years Of Community Building ........................................George Laundry
Events, Clubs, Updates
Potluck Picnics Of The Past.................................................Usha Reutenbach
The Apple Core...................................................................... Planting With Mike
Preserving the Ridley Bronze Turkey...............................Margaret Thompson
Famous Recipes...............................................................................Rhubarb Pie
The Compost Pile..................................................................Jokes for Everyone
Down On The Farm.......................................................A Visit To Windsor Farm
The Community Remembers...Phyllis Dodds, Roy Lamont, Norman Mouat


Making A Difference

120 Years Of Community Building

by George Laundry

The Fall Fair 2015 Poultry in Motion also has a byline as shown in our title.

The Institute wishes to invite all of Salt Spring Island to join us in celebrating the 120th anniversary of the beginning of our organization.

Several meetings took place beginning on December 14th, 1895. Under the influence of John Patton Booth, a group of farmers met to organize an association and to discuss the building of a public hall for their own Agricultural Exhibition. They formalized their organization as the Salt Spring Island Horticultural and Fruit Growers Association. The hall (which we now call Central Hall ) was begun in April 1896 and completed in time for the first Fair on October 14th, 1896. In early 1900, not satisfied with having completed construction of Central Hall, the Institute began construction of a second community hall. We know this hall today as Mahon Hall and it has been at the centre of community development since 1904. In the early 1900's this organization became the Islands Farmers' Institute and later the Salt Spring Island Farmers' Institute.

In these early years, the farming community and the Farmers’ Institute were essentially the same people. This was a time of community development - building of barns - clearing of land, etc. - all farmers helped each other. We can see that every school, manse and church were built by the farming community, most often on land donated by the farmers.

Farming went through many ups and downs - a depression, two world wars, and then a devastating setback in 1957 when our world famous creamery closed.

This decline in agriculture lasted until the early 1970s, when a new energy seemed to appear within farming. So, in l976, Mike and Bev Byron, and others, had the energy to launch a new Fall Fair - it was a great success and its’ evolution has taken it to our energetic fairs of today.

The 6 year period between 1976 and 1982 was one of the most incredibly energetic periods possible for the development of the Institute, and the entire community, than one can imagine. By now, the general community had a much larger spectrum than just farmers!

In l978 Patrick and Marguerite Lee purchased a 9.6 acre parcel of land and generously offered it to the Institute at cost. The Directors enthusiastically accepted and today we are one of the few Institutes in BC that own our own land, for the benefit of our Community. During this period, the Institute also acquired a building to house their Agricultural Museum. Then, they needed an exhibition hall. The money to complete these objectives was acquired from a combination of Government grants and debentures sold to the people of Salt Spring Island.

The wonderful interaction between the Institute and the Community of SSI is most clearly represented in how this Exhibition Hall was built. Each weekend a group of volunteers, often members of service clubs, would form a work party to handle the construction . The wives provided the food and the Institute provided the beer. Each year, after the Fall Fair, a lottery was held to draw a number of debentures to be paid back. The final debenture was retired in l987. This picture is a model of community involvement.

2 -

Today the Fair is the most significant event on Salt Spring Island, with an average attendance of over 10,000 persons. It is one of the last true community fairs in BC, and widely regarded as one of the best fairs in the province.

The directors do not accept corporate sponsors for the Fall Fair, nor do we provide a large scale midway. The idea is that the money is spent on Salt Spring Island and remains on Salt Spring Island. It is a totally volunteer driven event. There is a work group all year long and volunteers plan the fair, starting normally in January each year. The Institute has about 450 volunteers in the actual running of the Fair. It is estimated that an equal number of volunteers are involved in the operation of the booths for various groups within the community. To see approximately 900 - 1000 volunteers involved in the Fair is an outstanding measure of our community!

However, the Institute is not just about a Fair. We are the largest and oldest community services organization on Salt Spring Island. The Institute is the foremost advocate of all aspects of agriculture on the Island and a protector of properties in the Agricultural Land Reserve ( ALR) . In this regard, the Directors of the Farmers’ Institute sit on the Boards of The Islands Trust Agricultural Advisory Planning Commission, The Agricultural Alliance, The Salt Spring Island Farmland Trust Society and The Salt Spring Farmers Heritage Foundation. The Directors often attend off island events and conferences related to the farming community. The Institute has played a major roll in the development of the Salt Spring Island Area Farm Plan and is one of the largest contributors to the Salt Spring Abattoir, which is a direct result from this “Plan”

In 2006 the Institute was the recipient of a 55 acre parcel of farmland in the Burgoyne Valley donated by an off island real estate developer. In 2012, after a great deal of legal and financial behind the scenes work, the acreage was donated to the Salt Spring Island Farmland Trust Society which the Institute was instrumental in creating. The acreage is now used as a community farm property and allotment gardens. We are involved in numerous youth programs, particularly at schools such as Fernwood Elementary,Salt Spring Centre,and Salt Spring Secondary. We also offer an annual scholarship at GISS, for post secondary programs related to farming.

As to our grounds off Rainbow Rd., we support and or assist with the Agricultural Museum, the Fibre Co-op, the GISS/Camosun College Task building trades program which uses our facilities during the school year and most recently, the newly built Blacksmith Shop which also offers courses for students. In addition, we operate the largest venue on Salt Spring Island suitable for a variety of events. Our facilities are used almost daily by a wide variety of community groups sometimes at no cost.
Our grounds require constant maintenance and attention. We are thankful to all our volunteers, particularly the Tuesday morning work group who are there rain or shine, nailing, sawing, painting, scraping, and generally lugging things around. There is even a group that restores all of our antique machinery!

So, let us celebrate our community and let us remember that Salt Spring Island began as a farming community and the Farmers’ Institute has been a part of it all.

Embracing The 21st Century

Always looking for opportunities, to enhance and improve community conditions, your Farmers' Institute Board has recently made a significant decision that may provide some leadership for other community members.

Water, or maybe more accurately, lack of water has become one of the most discussed assets in the community. Having read about the moratorium on water hook-ups and , in fact, one of the Agricultural Communities newest projects come under threat by that moratorium, the Board made the decision to take positive action and hopefully provide some leadership.

Effective immediately, we have converted all of our toilets to LOW FLUSH. At first glance, this may seem like a minor contribution to the water problems, but if you multiply our 15 toilets by the number of events, and number of people participating in those events over a year, we think we are making a fairly serious contribution to solving the shortage. As George Laundry pointed out in his article, there is activity virtually every day of the week at the Institute. Several of the events involve hundreds of people and some, thousands. One can readily see, the gallons saved rapidly compounding !!

The Farmers' Institute recognizes that water is one of the most valuable assets a community can have, particularly an Agricultural Community. Water is critical, not only for irrigation, but for all aspects of food processing and preparation.

The Farmers' Institute is pleased to be able to do our part in preserving this commodity.


New Museum Addition



Update - Museum Extension

Construction on the museum addition is now complete with the flooring installed by Tony Threlfall and Bruce Marshall and work has begun on installing displays. The two large murals have been mounted on one wall and display cases installed and painted. Within the next week we expect to have most of the display items in place. The job ahead of us now is cleaning up the old part of the museum and getting it ready for visitors. At the moment the whole space is covered with dust from the construction and a major cleanup is needed. The new entry path is under construction and moss has to be removed from the roof.

We have had calls from tour bus companies and the Chamber of Commerce asking how soon they can arrange to put the museum on tour schedules. We hope to be ready for this in another two weeks.
An improved wheelchair access is going to be added at the side of the old building and wheelchair access provided between the new building and the annex.
With Heritage Day scheduled for July 19th the museum should get a lot more attention this year.


The Salt Spring Farm Dinner Series

Agricultural Alliance Fund Raiser

Once again enjoy a great meal while supporting local agriculture!
Tickets $55



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).
Proposals for up to 10 acres are reviewed as received until the land is completely rented. There is still space available
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

at Burgoyne Valley Community Farm
Although all our plots have all been rented, you can get on our waiting list.
(20’ x 50’) are available for rental of $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


by Mike Hagan
The April meeting of the Salt Spring Poultry Club was quite well attended and several topics were discussed:
Tim Harvey will be investigating changing our Google Group for a more functional forum with topic threads that would be easier for members to navigate. This will help us to create a library of information that can be accessed by members in the future. A lot of good information and advice is shared on the club email group.
Gary Lehman is updating thewebsite Thank you Gary!
He will post a synopsis of the last meeting, announce the date of the next meeting and add other information under new sections. There will be a monthly profile of a SSI Poultry club member. We hope to also have a monthly profile of a poultry breed--contributed by members. The list of producers needs to be updated. Please check in on the website and if you want your name on as a breeder or seller of eggs or birds please contact Gary Lehman at glehman@telus. net. Also if you have any poultry pictures or suggestions for the website please contact Gary. All members are welcome to help.
Ted Baker mentioned that there may be an opportunity to create a farm based cook book in the future. This would be done along the lines of what the garden club has done and would be a bit more egg and meat oriented. This cook book could possibly be a fund raiser for the abattoir, which the poultry club has been a strong supporter of, both with donations of labour and money as well as encouraging patronage of the abattoir services.
Michael Hogan gave a report on the incubator. Fees for hatching services were reviewed and new rates were set. The club decided to move away from the dozen price to a per egg price.
There will be an IN and an OUT fee per egg. That means you pay a fee for all eggs that are set and an additional amount for a live hatch. This offers a lower cost for non-successful or non-fertile eggs, and a reasonable fee for the club operation of the incubator and to maintain the equipment. This year we had to order a part for the incubator from Florida. We also purchased a better quality candler to ensure better success at determining viable eggs.

chicken 50cents IN 50 cents OUT
duck 75cents IN $1.00 OUT
turkey 75cents IN $1.00 OUT
goose $1.50 IN $1.50 OUT
Non- members will pay a $5 surcharge ( or they can join the club for $5, it's going to be $10 next year.)
The incubator has been full the last two months. We would like to offer a big thank you to Patricia Donnelly of the Yarn shop for allowing the use of her incubator to hold the overflow. Spring is chick season! Those wishing to use the incubator services can contact Michael Hogan at 537 5340

In line with the club's aim of producing good local sustainable flocks there will be limited numbers of premium quality heritage chicks available for sale. The first chicks will be available at the end of April. We will have Rhode Island Reds, Buff Orpingtons and Mille Fleur bantams. These will be $10 each. Money earned over the cost of the eggs ($20 to $25 a dozen for quality hatching eggs)
and incubating cost will go to the club.

The raising of Mistral Gris, a variety of meat bird was also discussed. These birds are obtained from True North Heritage Poultry in Langley and are a heritage pasture style meat bird. http://truenorthfarm.ca/mistral-gris/ Several people on Salt Spring raise these. They take about 12 weeks to grow to slaughter weight as opposed to 8 weeks for the Cornish cross type of commercial chicken. But once you try them- Like going to Grandma's for Sunday dinner!
This years Fall Fair theme is "Poultry in motion", sounded like a challenge to the poultry club and we are more than glad to take it on. Animated chickens and possibly the worlds "largest dancing chicken" could be there. Our R and D department is holding meetings. More so we hope it is a chance to encourage poultry raising on Salt Spring and to encourage islanders to participate in the fair. The club has a very good educational aspect, there is a lot of combined knowledge available, just ask.
Early this year there was a "Raising healthy meat birds" work shop organized by Margaret Thomson that was well attended.
At each monthly meeting we try to discuss a specific topic on poultry care and any member can attend and ask for advice or share information. There has been some discussion of organizing a workshop on coop and brooder building. This would be a good help those just getting into poultry. Understanding how to arrange a coop or a brooder takes some experience and working with some experienced people would give a lot of confidence and make things easier for those getting started.

Junior Weavers last day

Junior Weavers


by Sara Ratner
Almost every year the guild runs a beginner’s weaving program and this year it was Junior Weaving for kids age 8 and up. Victoria Olchowecki organized the class and was assisted by guild members Margaret Thomson, Tanis Smythe, Pat Davidson, Gail Fraser, Val Short, Karen Clark and Mary Paddon. The children wound a warp and dressed the loom on which they would weave their first project. They then moved to a different loom. The children wove two items, a plain weave using 8/2 cotton, and a bird’s eye twill using 8/4 cotton. There was enough warp then left on the loom for some “playing” by those who had the time.

Three types of looms were used: the Woodhouse, a Mountain and the Jane. The last day was like Christmas, as the projects were cut off. Cookies and photographs followed.

The guild was in a position to donate 2 looms to two very happy children. 5 books were also given away and they were appreciated as well.

Salt Spring Island Weavers and Spinners programming committee put together an exceptional 2014-15 season with the standout program being Sandra Hodgin’s 7-month weaving class on Twill. The course had a detailed and rich classroom component as well as a hands-on weaving opportunity where the roughly 15 participants were able to engage with the material through creating 25 sample patterns of their own. Sandra distinguished herself on many levels by creating this course and artfully managed to appeal to both experienced and novice weavers alike. The results of this program will be viewable by all at this year’s Fall Fair.

Coming up: Weavers and Spinners will be at Ruckle Farm Days on Sunday, May 3rd from 10 to 3pm. In July we’ll be teaching a group of 8-12 years olds how to use a drop spindle at the Library’s summer camp for kids. You’ll also see us at Heritage Day at the Farmers Institute as well as the Fall Fair.

Sara Ratner
Outreach Coordinator

Sandra Hodgins with a few of the samples created by participants

Twill Samples

Liam and Karen

Liam & Karen

Dona MacKie at the loom

Donna MacKie





by David Astill - Director
The abattoir is open for business for another busy, spring, summer and fall. During our shut down from mid-January through March the floor in the facility was replaced. The repair was needed as the floor was lifting in some places and chipped in others. The initial surface was also very slippery and dangerous for employees.

We have made some changes to our pricing. Larger poultry producers will get a break on processing costs. We have had to raise our cut and wrap prices for lamb to reflect our labour costs. Visit our web site for more details. www.saltspringabattoir.ca We have also brought on board Josh Crawford, a young man with considerable meat cutting experience. One of our main goals this year is to improve our communications. When booking, customers should experience a rapid response and confirmation process.

Monday May 4th 7 pm. the Annual General Meeting of the Salt Spring Abattoir Society will be held at the Farmers Institute. Farmers and the general public are welcome.



Bee Time!
By Kelly Johnson
Spring can be precarious for a bee hive and starving is not uncommon, so I am watching my hives closely. A few weeks ago the hives were heavy with great stores of capped honey coming out of winter, and now they are on the lightweight side. Once the big leaf maple blossoms open, I will sigh a big relief as it provides a major nectar source for the bees. English laurel hedge blooms will be buzzing with bees for a good month. Oregon grape is soon to open, followed by the fruit trees, arbutus and hawthorn. Leave some of your winter brassicas go to bloom as the yellow flowers provide a favourite nectar for the bees. The dandelions are coming on now too and they are a major source. I have a few rogue parsnips left over from last year and I will be leaving them to create a fantastic tall plant that all the pollinators will feast on for well over a month.

Besides pollen and nectar, there is another product the bees bring into the hive which they collect from tree buds. A resinous mixture is collected and in the hive the bees add wax and convert it to propolis . In our area, despite the presence of conifers, birch, alders and other trees, bees collect this resin mostly from the cottonwood (Populus deltoids) and balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera). Cottonwood resin is yellow and balsam poplar resin is more red.

It’s not easy for the honey bee to collect the sticky resin. They scrape it up with their mouthparts, pack it on their hind legs and other bees have to help pull it off their legs. Bees do not eat propolis they use the resin to seal up the cracks in the hive and create structural integrity.

For decades commercial beekeepers attempted to select colonies that collect less propolis so it would be easier for the bee keeper to manipulate the hive. Most bee keepers dislike the gummy substance. However, as a herbalist I know propolis to be very strong medicine and beneficial to humans. Earlier in the spring I harvested poplar bud to make an herbal oil and alcohol tincture. The resulting creams and tinctures will be highly antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal and even antiviral for humans.
Recent research by Maria Spivak, PhD (MacArthur Fellow and McKnight Distinguished Professor in Entomology at the University of Minnesota, USA), has demonstrated that propolis in a bee hive helps to kill off microbes in the nest, creating an external antimicrobial layer to benefit the hive. The more propolis in the hive the healthier the bees.
When honey bees in the wild nest in trees they coat the inside of the cavity with propolis sometimes several mm thick. With our man made bee boxes the inside is smooth and so the bees don’t make this propolis envelope. This year I will be roughing up the inside of my smooth boxes so perhaps the bees will seal it with propolis. Or we can construct bee boxes with rough lumber on the inside.



by Loretta Rithaler
We've had a busy start to the 4H Year! We have a small but very busy group
this year. So far they have completed some program work (Public Speaking).
At the club level, 7 of 8 members participated. This resulted in three
Seniors (Helena, Joely and Anna) and two Junior members (William and Quinn)
being invited to participate in District Public Speaking. William achieved
3rd place at the District event, in a field of 18 speakers. Well done!

Several members followed this event with an animal display at the Salt
Spring Island Cheese Farm on Easter Sunday. Always a fun family event, the
group was very well received with a display of poultry, lambs and, of
course, baby chicks. It takes a lot of patience and careful watch of the
animals in such a busy environment and the members fared very well with the
assistance of their project leaders, Morgain and Ramona.

We have had two more general meetings with most members in attendance.
Attendance is a required portion of project achievement, as the members
conduct their own business meetings.

April has been a busy month - 4 members, 3 leaders and 1 parent attended the
Island 4-H Rendezvous, a bi-annual event held in Parksville, part of our
Region. This event is a number of workshops, covering topics like marketing
a project animal for sale, health care and husbandry (various animals -
horse, rabbit, poultry), judging, halter-making, thank you cards, games, as
well as several topics for parents and leaders including the opportunities
available for the members (school credits, awards and travel) as well as
leaders and parents (learning, facilitating, leading). It was a great day
and a fabulous opportunity to reconnect with long-time 4H families and

This year, our membership has chosen the Sheep Project as a new focus.

We have eight members, covering the following projects:
Sheep - 8
Poultry - 5
Photography - 4
Rabbit - 2
Find your 4H Wings - 8
Jr. Leadership - 1

Taking on a new project is a very big undertaking. The sheep project is a
very intensive one, as there is so much information to learn, and depends on
the focus of whether one is raising a market lamb, a ewe lamb or a wool lamb
(our small group has some of each!)

So far, all members have received their project animals. They have had two
project meetings so far, wherein they have learned about some basic health
and care information, learned how to make haltars, and discussed a variety
of topics about their projects.

The Photography group will be having its first project meeting April 30th,
where they will be "focusing" on portraiture. This is a new area for some
of our previous photography members and one we are excited to learn more
about. We have plans for some field trips and field work to practice new
skills, as well as a couple of guest speakers/demonstrations.

Sunday May 3rd is our next community event. We hope to see all our friends
at Ruckle Farm Day, as we host an animal display with sheep, rabbit, poultry
along with the help of our friends Art, Bud and Nikki who will be displaying
the "Old Tyme Tools" and sponsoring the nail drive for the smaller children.

The 4H Concession (one of our annual fundraising events) will also be
available to purchase coffee, tea and a yummy treat. We will also have
our "BC 4H Gator Lottery" tickets available (that's a vehicle Gator not an
alli-gator) for purchase. Please help support our fabulous programming and
enter for a chance to win!

Looking forward to a continued year of 4H success and the continued support
of the Farmer's Institute.

See you soon!


Potluck Picnics of the Past

1903 in the Burgoyne Valley

by Usha Rautenbauch
Those who like to refer back to the past for ideas for the future might be interested in this snippet from Reverend Wilson, resident in the North End of Salt Spring, proposing a gathering of all Salt Spring in the South End (Burgoyne Valley), in the summer of 1903.
It’s a recipe, of sorts, for how to organise a large group of people (including useless bachelors) to an outdoor feast of masses. I do so love the man - have to share him and his ways with someone… Usha (Rautenbach) - my added comments in italics.

Reverend Wilson, SSI Parish & Home, July 1903:
The Sunday School picnic is to be at Fulford Harbor on the flat opposite H. N. Rogers' old place, close to the sea shore. There is a small creek there with excellent drinking water, and trees at the back for shade, so it would seem to be an ideal spot for a picnic.
It is to take place Wednesday, August 5th, or if that should chance to be a wet day, which is not very likely, then Thursday, August 6th.
It is proposed to meet on the ground between noon and 1 o'clock; and those who come from a distance, and want to get home early can leave about 5 p.m.

It is expected that several teams [of horses, with wagons in tow] will come from the North End and Ganges Harbor and the Divide, and we hope also Beaver Point, so that those who do not possess horses will get a chance for a lift. All who can should bring baskets of good things, besides plates, cups, etc. Bachelors would do well to put in a few dozen oranges and lemons. Ladies in the Valley [Burgoyne Valley of course] will, we expect, arrange the feast, as they know so well how to do it.
There must also be sports and prizes for the children.
Let all come who can and have a jolly time.
Home Sunday School prizes will be distributed in the course of the afternoon.
One big dinner for all and tea made over the camp fire at 1 o'clock, and lemonade, oranges and cake before going home at 5 o'clock.
Swings and other amusements will be provided for the children, and if the weather is hot there may be some play in the water, such as tub racing, greasy pole, etc. Mr. Wilson will be down the night before to help get things ready. [USHA: Mr Edward Francis Wilson the writer and Reverend himself, that is, rather than the farmer of the area; and he will propose to dross down that night in the newly built schoolhouse, which has recently replaced the dank, dark, and cramped old log schoolhouse; but some kindly family’s matron mother will say No, no, we can make room for you I’m sure, and he will suffer the kindness, though in truth preferring calm austerity and solitude over socially solicitous obligation … So It Goes.]
1921 picnic greasy pole fun (at Ganges Spit)
1904 attire for a picnic on the beach
1912 community picnic - an example of just how many people Rev Wilson could get out for one of his church picnics; this one only inviting the families of the Divide and Cranberry school communities - so just imagine the scene for an August picnic of his Sunday School children from all over Salt Spring - he used to visit them in their family homes. This photograph is clear enough for Frank Neumann of the SSI Archives to have enlarged online, and add the names from the original photograph.

fruit tree

The Apple Core

Planting with Mike

by Conrad Pilon
Back in June 2012, when the Salt Spring Island Farmers' Institute newsletter the Cultivated Farmer was first published on line, my first article addressed planting fruit trees. It is said that fruit tree growing is a craft that requires some skill, patience and attention to detail. As you will soon discover in the attached video, Planting with Mike, brings that craft to a somewhat different level.

Mike, the unflagging editor of the Cultivated Farmer and a Director of the Salt Spring Island Farmland Trust Society, has a very keen interest in sustainable orchards and fruit trees, particularly the eating component or the harvest part. So, starting at the beginning, otherwise known as the planting stage, was very 'instructive'. There was a myriad of things to plan and consider: site, rootstock, soil, pollination, triploids vs diploids cultivars, organic planting methods, size of hole,...which the video describes with brevity and levity.

In March of this year, with the help of Mike's brother Peter (the cameraman) and his partner Robert (the technical consultant) , we set out to record the planting of a variety of apple trees along the Northwest corner fence line of the of the Shaw Family Community Gardens at the Burgoyne Valley Community Farm where Mike and Kate have leased a garden plot. Over the last few years, Mike has worked with me at grafting apple and pear trees on various rootstocks. In the Spring of 2014, in preparation for planting apple trees suitable for a garden plot, we purchased M9 rootstock (also known as dwarf rootstock, growing to 6 feet/2 meters) from the BC Fruit Testers Association and grafted local apple varieties from various farms on the island(Laundry, Bond, Weeden...).

Growing fruit trees is fun and not all that difficult. Just remember fruit trees are quite resilient and will allow you to make `mistakes` along the way, as this video ably demonstrates! So observe, enjoy, and don’t be afraid to comment on our technique or share your own results.
Planting Fruit Trees Part 1
Planting Fruit Trees Part 2
Planting Fruit Trees Part 3


The Ridley Bronze Turkey

Preserving The Endangered Ridley Bronze Turkey

An Interview with Margaret Thompson

by Bramwell Ryan of the Globe & Mail
Published Sunday, Apr. 26 2015
They are ugly, tough and bred to survive brutal winters, yet somehow the gnarly Ridley Bronze turkey has captured the heart of a retired nurse on Saltspring Island.
The sociable meat birds, named for a Saskatchewan farmer, were developed on the Prairies in the 1960s and eventually were given to the University of Saskatchewan as a gift. For three decades, the flock lived at the university, but budget cuts set them loose in what Margaret Thomson, 70, calls the great dispersal.
Two hundred birds left the university in 2008. Since then, their numbers have dipped to less than 100 before climbing up. Ms. Thomson knows: She and an Ottawa Valley farmer have recently completed the latest census for the Ridley Bronze turkey.
Ms. Thomson was the volunteer turkey co-ordinator for Rare Breeds Canada, a group concerned with keeping heritage animals alive, when she discovered the Ridley. She helped the university find homes for the flock during the dispersal. But when she conducted her first national census in 2010, the results shocked her. The population had dropped by 55 per cent with only 90 breeding hens left.
“The situation was desperate,” she said. “I felt compelled to help.”
Since then, Ms. Thomson has called farmers across Western Canada to find out if their flock of Ridleys ended up on Christmas dinner tables and if not, how many are left out in the yard. Farmer George Whitney has done the same thing for Eastern Canada.
“We are stringing our beads on a thin thread,” said Mr. Whitney, who raises Ridleys. “We need to keep genetic pools around especially in the face of new disease strains and even climate change.”
The latest census results, collected since January and completed last month, show there are just 218 of the hens across the country.
“[It is] potentially disastrous whether it’s 210 or 250 breeding hens. It’s nowhere near enough for their future to be secure. A few thousand would be better.”
The turkey most often eaten at Thanksgiving and Christmas comes from a strain called broad-breasted whites. Due to intensive breeding, these birds produce large amounts of breast meat and can live together in huge flocks of up to 50,000 birds. But the dark side of this uniformity is that the birds can no longer mate, need to be artificially inseminated and can’t survive on their own.
Ridley Bronze turkey meat is firmer in texture, the flavour more intense and “you don’t eat as much,” said Ms. Thomson. “One bird goes a long way.” But they are dramatically more expensive than commercial turkeys: Ms. Thomson calls them a special-occasion bird.
Buying a Ridley Bronze for a meal will set you back $70 to $80 for one bird, compared to less than half of that for a commercial variety.
When the Ridleys of Saskatchewan needed a new home, Ms. Thomson had a hard decision: She already had rare sheep and a flock of another heritage turkey on her small farm. Raising different bird breeds at the same time can be complicated, she noted.
But Ms. Thomson acquired eggs and was soon helping sustain the endangered species. Over the next few years, she raised Ridleys, sent eggs and poults (chicks) to others and encouraged farmers and shared her knowledge.
The passion catches in her throat as Ms. Thomson explains the importance of preserving genetic lines. For her, the Ridley is more than just another rare breed. It’s a lifeline made of strands of DNA. It is a way back to Eden if commercial livestock efforts tank. And it’s Canadian.
Ms. Thomson says the risk inherent in especially narrowed livestock bloodlines is a good reason for a plan B. It’s a food-security issue. She sees her efforts as one way to ensure a gene pool of hearty birds.
“If you want turkeys in 100 years, you have to do a good deed today.”
That’s the tension in raising heritage birds. If you don’t eat them – or sell them to be eaten – they become just one more pet, and an expensive one at that. Keeping heritage birds makes sense to preserve genetic diversity but the longevity of the Ridley Bronze turkey depends on whether there’s a profit in raising them.
Despite her passion for preserving the breed, Ms. Thomson doesn’t have any more Ridleys herself. A wild ferret wiped out most of her flock two years ago and last year’s replacement efforts failed. Ms. Thomson’s last Ridleys – the ones that escaped the ferret – are now sausages in her freezer.

Famous Recipes

Rhubarb Pie

Rhubarb Pie - First thing from the garden.
What do eat out of the garden right now? Are we all a bit tired of Kale and all its cousins.
Here are two recipes for fresh out of the garden rhubarb pie. This is the best thing to break your diet after Christmas. The first recipe requires using your own secret recipe for the pastry. The second opened face pie includes how to make the pastry shell.

REMEMBER - make sure you DISCARD all of the leaf portion of the plant!!! The leaves of rhubarb are POISONOUS.

Recipe 1

Makes 1 9-inch pie

4 cups chopped rhubarb

1 1/3 cups white sugar

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon butter

1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
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Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
Combine sugar and flour. Sprinkle 1/4 of it over pastry in pie plate. Heap rhubarb over this mixture. Sprinkle with remaining sugar and flour. Dot with small pieces of butter. Cover with top crust.
Place pie on lowest rack in oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and continue baking for 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

Recipe 2
For the shortcrust pastry:

6 oz (175 g) plain flour

1½ oz (40 g) lard, at room temperature

1½ oz (40 g) butter or margarine, at room temperature

1 small egg yolk

2 rounded tablespoons semolina
For the filling:

1½ lb (700 g) prepared rhubarb

3 oz (75 g) caster sugar
For the glaze:

1 small egg white

6 sugar cubes, crushed

Make up the pastry by sifting the flour into a large mixing bowl, then rubbing the fats into it lightly with your fingertips, lifting everything up and letting it fall back into the bowl to give it a good airing. When the mixture reaches the crumb stage, sprinkle in enough cold water to bring it together to a smooth dough that leaves the bowl absolutely clean, with no crumbs left.

Give it a little light knead to bring it fully together, then place the pastry in a polythene bag in the fridge for 30 minutes. After that, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C). Then roll the pastry out on a flat surface to a round of approximately 14 inches (35 cm) – as you roll, give it quarter turns so that it ends up as round as you can make it (don't worry, though, about ragged edges: they're fine).

Now carefully roll the pastry round the rolling pin and transfer it to the centre of the lightly greased baking sheet. To prevent the pastry getting soggy from any excess juice, paint the base with egg yolk (you'll need to cover approximately a 10 inch (25.5 cm) circle in the centre), then sprinkle the semolina lightly over this. The semolina is there to absorb the juices and the egg provides a waterproof coating.

Now simply pile the rhubarb in the centre of the pastry, sprinkling it with sugar as you go. Then all you do is turn in the edges of the pastry: if any breaks, just patch it back on again – it's all meant to be ragged and interesting. Brush the pastry surface all round with the egg white, then crush the sugar cubes with a rolling pin and sprinkle over the pastry (the idea of using crushed cubes is to get a less uniform look than with granulated). Now pop the pie on to the highest shelf of the oven and bake for approximately 35 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve warm with chilled crème fraîche or ice cream.

IMG 1960


A man takes his brother to see a psychiatrist.
Psychiatrist: 'What seems to be the problem?'
Man: 'My brother thinks he is a chicken!'
Psychiatrist: 'How long has this been going on?'
Man: 'about a year.'
Psychiatrist: 'Why didn't you seek help sooner?'
Man: 'Well, we needed the eggs!'

Down On The Farm

Windsor Farm

We were down at the south end visiting Windsor Farm last week. Sheila and Brittany took the time to give us the "grand tour" of their spectacular farm - thank you
Here are some video clips that are just out of the barn (unedited)

Feeding the lambs
Root Cellar
Looking for lost lambs
More lambs
Farm Stand

Our Farming Community Remembers

Edith Phyllis Dodds

June 13, 1929 - April 26, 2015
Phyllis Dodds entered into the presence of her Lord peacefully on April 26, 2015 following a stroke. Phyllis leaves behind her loving husband of 58 years, Ted, son Dave (Joyce), daughter Cathy (Brent), Grandchildren James (Natalie), Adam (Stephanie), Luke (Katie), Malinda (Dean), Brian (Deborah), and Janelle (Jeremy), as well as Great-Grandchildren Evan, Adelaide, Madelyn, Olivia and Everett.
Phyllis will be remembered for her kind and thoughtful spirit
and her love for and dedication to her family. Her ready smile and joyfulness will be greatly missed by all who knew her.

Phyllis was a long time resident of SSI and a supporter of the Farmers' Institute. She retired with her husband Ted onto the farmstead on Beddis Rd. where they have been reclaiming the land and orchards.

A memorial service will be held at Saltspring Island Baptist Church on Monday May 4th at 2:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Gideons. Words of condolences may be left at www.haywardsfuneral.com

Roy William Lamont

On March 2, 2015, in his 100th year, Roy Lamont passed away peacefully with his loving partner and caregivers by his side.
Roy is survived by his sweetheart and companion Muriel Hornell.
Also left to celebrate his memory are his nieces Bonnie Rees, Patricia Garlough (Jay), nephew Mike Berger (Donna), great nieces Heather Bourbeau (Roger), Jennifer Berger, Kelsey Aman, great nephew Trent Rees (Sybil), great-great-nieces and nephews Jedda and Ayden Rees, Jordan and Sydney Bourbeau. his grandchildren Roy Lamont Jr. (Nikki) and Kerri Leakey (Mike). Christine Copeland and her son Sam were also very close to Roy. He will be lovingly remembered and missed by his family.

Roy was predeceased by his beloved wife Mollie in 2003 and their son George, (Bear) in 1998.
Roy was a Sergeant Wireless Air Gunner for the RCAF attached to the RAF during WW2 and a celebrated Squadron Leader post-war until his retirement in 1964.

Roy and his dear friend Gene Fitzpatrick ran Listowel Trophies for many years out of Saskatoon, and he and Mollie worked as tour guides for the founder of the Driftwood, Woody Fisher. The Salt Spring years found him raising Hereford cows with the likes of Tom Gossett in the Cranberry Valley. Roy helped build the original Horse Ring at the Farmers' Institute on Rainbow Rd. Roy loved the Valley. His Fitz-Roy Farm legacy continues as Salt Spring Seeds.

Roy’s family would like to sincerely thank his caregivers: Dr. Woodley and his family, Maggie O’Scalleigh, Michele MacKenzie and Charlene Wolff for their compassion and dedication.

We will always be grateful to Maggie and Michelle for their long-term commitment, loyalty and love they provided to Roy and Muriel. It is because of them that Roy was able to live a beautiful, comfortable life on his farm.

Donations in Roy’s memory can be made to the Salt Spring Legion Branch 92, The Lady Minto Hospital Foundation, The Salt Spring Foundation or The Shrine Club #39 Gulf Islands.
“Wow, what a ride!”

Norman Gavin Mouat

March 18, 1936 - April 19, 2015
With his family by his side, Norman Gavin Mouat peacefully passed away on April 19, 2015. Norman leaves behind his loving wife Carolyn, daughters Brenda Mouat (Derek), Barbara Nemeth (Richard), Susan Garside (Mike), Karen Mouat (Doug Abernethy) Kathleen Mouat. Grandchildren: Gavin Teagle (Erin), Anna Gauthier (Al), Laura Nemeth (Kevin), Molly Edwardsen (Jered), Kirby Garside (Shauna), Myles Teagle (Katia), Michael Nemeth, Stuart Garside, Kate Schat (Marius) Paige Conlin-Mouat, Sam Myles, Hayden Conlin-Mouat, Jackson Myles, Bryson Conlin-Mouat. Great Grandchildren: Lilly Teagle, Mac Schat, Nathan Teagle, Amy Edwardsen, Mckinley Garside, June Edwardsen, Hamish Schat, Ava Gauthier and Leif Edwardsen. Nieces: Kathy, Barb, Christy, Shelley and Kari (Friele). Nephews: Jim, Dave, John, Tom and Rob (Pringle). Brothers-in-law Bud Friele and Carl Johnson (Suzanne) and nieces Jennifer and Joanne.
Norman was born on March 18, 1936 and lived on Salt Spring Island his entire life. Raised on the family farm, Norman became a much sought after sheep shearer. As a teenager he travelled the island shearing on other farms. He was an avid horseman for work and pleasure. As well as farming, his business career spanned partnerships in Mouat’s Trading Company, Salt Spring Insurance, Brinkworthy Modular Home Park and as owner/operator of the Esso Bulk Fuels plant in Ganges.
Norman had strong family and community values. He was such a gentle soul and genuinely interested in the well being of everyone he knew and always gave his time to help anyone in need. He loved Salt Spring; the land, the people, the community – he was a proud islander and he shared his joy with others who loved this island and chose to make it their home.
His family would like to thank the wonderful community of Salt Spring Island. The tennis players, the golfers, everyone who shared a game of crib or stopped to give him a hug hello – you brought sunshine to his life. To the staff and residents at Greenwoods thank you for giving Norman a special home these past two years. We are especially grateful to everyone at Lady Minto who lovingly cared for Norman in his last days.
We will always remember our Dad as a gentleman, generous with his love, kindness and brilliant sense of humour shining through to the very end.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Greeenwoods Foundation or the Lady Minto Hospital Foundation.
A celebration of Norman’s life will be held outdoors at their home at Juniper Point, 780 Sunset Drive on June 14th at 2 pm.

April, 2015