The Nuttery : Volume 13 Number 1 (1994)

In this Issue...

Note that we will have two field days this spring, one at the Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove in the Baxter Conservation Area near Kars, Ontario, and the other at the Oak Valley Plantation near Winchester Springs, Ontario. See inside for details.

Interested in nut pines? Be sure to read the inspiring article sent in by Antoine Sioufi about the Lebanese nut pine.

A questionnaire designed to ascertain member's personal interests in nut culture is in preparation, to be included in a future issue of the Nuttery. Its results could help ECSONG identify programs and activities that will closely match interests, thus providing opportunities for wider participation.

For ECSONG members interested in the Eastern Ontario Model Forest project, the AGM is scheduled for April 30, 1994 in the Parish Building on the Kemptville College of Agricultural Technology (KCAT) campus. For more information, call the Model Forest Office at the college.

On April 9, 1994 past, the "First Regional Urban Forest Workshop" was held at the Ottawa City Hall. The day-long workshop invited the public to discuss what more can be done to improve the trees in the community. Several ECSONG members attended. Our Chair, Ralph McKendry, spoke briefly about the value of nut trees for our community.

The calendar for ECSONG this year is presented at the back of this issue. Now is the time to mark these dates on your own calendar, so as not to miss them. Note the price change on the ECSONG books advertised in the Nuttery Marketplace.

Now is a good time, being spring and soon the planting season, to contact the seed and stock suppliers also advertising therein.

See you at the Spring Field Days!

Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove Spring Field Day

The Spring Field Day for the Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove, located in the Baxter Conservation Area near Kars (see the map), will be held on Saturday, May 7, 1994 starting at 10:00 AM. In case of rain, the field day will be held instead on the following day, Sunday, May 8, 1994.

Two programs will be covered. The first, to be lead by Dave Johnstone, will clean up the winter debris, stake any trees needing support, fertilize all trees, and renew the mulch on the younger trees.

The second program, to be lead by Ted Cormier, will plant those new trees assigned to the nut grove under EONC, the Eastern Ontario Nut Tree Culture project. EONC is joint project between ECSONG and Eastern Ontario Model Forest Inc. Ted is the project manager. Once planted, these trees will then be marked on the FRP Nut Grove map, labelled and mulched.

All volunteers will be welcomed. This is an opportunity to gain experience in nut tree culture that you might later apply on your own property or in other community-minded projects. Rubber boots and lunch bags are recommended. Coffee will be available in the Workshop lunch room. Shovels, spades, garden or grass rakes are desirable. If you can, by all means bring your wheelbarrow (blessed are they who bring their tools, sayeth the Great Nut). Work will go on unless the weather delivers blinding snow or pelting rain. Do not be easily put off! If you have any questions, call Cliff Craig or Alec Jones (see the membership page for their phone numbers.)

Alec Jones, Secretary FRP Nut Grove Liaison Committee.

Oak Valley Field Day and Beyond

The Oak Valley Plantation Committee (Ralph McKendry, Chair; Irene Woolford, George Truscott, Ernie Kerr and Steve Palmer) have made their site development plans for 1994. This plantation is on property that is the responsibility of the South Nation River Conservation Authority (SNRCA). Its development is a joint project between ECSONG (represented by the committee) and the SNRCA.

The field day will concentrate on completing the 1993 work unfinished, and mitigating any winter damage. The unfinished work is planting a windbreak on the north boundary. What winter damage there may be will be assessed in anticipation of the field day.

At the Ottawa Valley Farm Show held earlier this spring in Ottawa, the SNRCA mounted a display showing photos of a number of their main projects. We were pleased to see a picture of the Oak Valley Plantation showing the developing nursery plot and Ralph, bold as brass, standing proudly beside it!

Looking at the rest of 1994, there are four projects planned for this season. A number of access roads will be laid out over the site that will enable machinery to move around the plantation without causing damage.

Also, a new, expanded nursery will be initiated to provide a continual flow of seedlings out into the plantation and the surrounding communities. The nurseryman, George Truscott, is calling for donations of discarded jute-backed carpeting which has proven exemplary as grass-suppressing mulch. It can used over large areas, such a seed beds, as well as in small swatches around individual trees. It must be jute-backed, not rubber-backed, carpet. If you have any such discards, call George or any other committee member. Your donation will be warmly appreciated.

Thirdly, the remnants of the old burnt barn overlie a poured concrete foundation. If cleared off, this surface could be used as a level surface for any number of purposes, including picnics, performances, etc.

Fourth and last, the committee plans various new plantings around the site. Some of this will be done in conjunction with thew Eastern Ontario Nut Culture Project, Ted Cormier Project Manager.

You, your family, friends and neighbours all invited to the Spring Field on Saturday, May 14, 1994, starting about 10:00 AM. Bring along you gardening tools, wheelbarrows specially welcome! Also, if you plan to spend the day, please bring your lunch and refreshments. See the adjacent map showing the Oak Valley Plantation site. For more information call Ralph, or any other committee member.

See y'all at Oak Valley Spring Field Day...

Oak Valley Planter's Plots Plan

or, New Nut Culture Opportunities for Landless Urban Peasants

Undoubtedly there are ECSONG members with aspirations to grow their own nut trees but who lack the type of soil or space needed. Some of these may be older folk who have retired to condos or apartments; others will be younger but haven't yet acquired that hoped-for place in the country.

To help meet this need, the Oak Valley Plantation Committee is identifying a section of the site on the Nation River where members could plant nut trees from seed and/or raise stock procured from a commercial nursery. The underlying concept is similar to municipal allotment gardens except for implications that the duration of the collaborative nut tree culture activities is likely to last a generation or so, and not just till next fall's harvest.

ECSONG is considering offering two types of Planter's Plots to accommodate two types of nut culture activities:

1. Nursery Plots, about 8' x 10', providing rich, loose soil and a protective environment for raising seedlings from nuts or for growing up seedlings obtained from commercial sources.

2. Heritage Plots, about 60' x 30', in open, prepared land between the west boundary and a service road allowance. There seedlings or saplings of the planter's choice might be placed and remain indefinitely under the care of the planter or descendants.

ECSONG's role at Oak Valley is to work cooperatively with the South Nation River Conservation Authority to develop a park and plantation featuring nut-bearing trees on this 7 or 8 acre site. Because the land belongs to a conservation authority it is likely to remain in the public domain in perpetuity.

Thus landless or land-poor members who might wish to become planters by seizing the opportunity presented by the Planter's Plots Plan could have some assurance of the sort of continuity that tree culture requires.

The Chapter, for its part, could provide "infrastructure" in the form of initial soil preparation, staking plot boundaries, plot labelling, maintenance of access and, upon request, advice and help with selection, procurement and planting. For this a service fee of $10 annually might be charged. The duration of a Nursery Plot agreement might be as short as one year, but for Heritage Plots probably 5 years minimum, renewable for the next 5-years on the same terms.

The Planter might be required to assume any costs for seed or nursery stock, and responsibility for planting and tending the plot. A border strip not less than five (5) feet wide on all four sides of each Heritage Plot should remain unplanted in order that trees on adjacent plots have room to grow. Weeds would have to be kept under control not only to reduce competition but to avoid jeopardizing neighbouring plots. Flagrant or persistent neglect of tending a plot could lead to voiding the agreement. There would also be a hope and expectation that Oak Valley Planters would turn out on Field Days to help with the further development of that site since this, in turn, would enhance the environment of individual Planter's Plots.

The Oak Valley site is easy of access. As it lies 35 miles south of Ottawa where it may be mild enough to enable culture of more tender species - particularly once the shelter belt has grown. Hazels and pine nuts could offer something to chew on while waiting for the chestnuts, butternuts or walnuts to grow in your Heritage Plot. Developing such a Plot could afford families a project where parents, children and maybe grandchildren could share in the efforts and the pleasures of getting trees to grow - and grow not just for a season or even their own generation but for those to follow. It would be hard to think of a finer memorial for any family than a stand of Heritage nut trees secure on a public lands location.

Your comments on the idea of Nursery and Heritage Plots at Oak Valley are sought. Get in touch with Ralph McKendry, Chair of the Oak Valley Project, at Ottawa 728 6511.

The Nut Pines of Lebanon

My name is Rana. My brother Georges and I spent last summer in Lebanon, at my grandma's house in Nabai, a small village in the mountains half an hour from Beirut. I still remember the fun we had looking for pine cones. Finding pine cones underneath dried pine needles is not as easy as you think, especially if you are five years old. At least we did not have to go too far to find them because the balcony in the back of the house was surrounded with pine trees. Inside the ripe cones, the pine nuts are black-striped, beige, elongated, almost cylindrical with a hard shell. We had to break the shell with a stone, and it was difficult not to smash the meat inside in the process. The meat is almost white, my dad calls it ivory white, and it is covered by a thin beige skin. Anyway, smashed or not, it was always delicious. My mother keeps a container of the white stuff in the fridge for cooking.

Wild pine tree forests are everywhere in the Lebanese mountains. The trees have an irregular shape, and are usually tall. The pine cone is called "kouz snowbar", where "n o w" is pronounced as in "now". The cones are fat, almost round, and the nuts inside are called "snowbar", though "snowbar" usually refers to the edible white meat inside the shell. My dad told me that he preferred to eat the pine nuts before they were ripe. This meant picking cones while they were still green. It was not always easy to climb the trees without a ladder, and most of the good fat cones would be on hard to get at branches. Picking the cones was the difficult part, but getting the nuts from the cones was messy. The green cones, which are solid, had to be smashed with a heavy stone to loosen up the scales and free the nuts underneath. You couldn't avoid getting your fingers all sticky from the resin on the cones. Another way was to bake, or rather, burn the green cones over an open fire, until the scales came unstuck. The idea was to eat the nuts while steaming hot. Never mind the sooty black fingers, at least they were not sticky. Anyway, my dad said it is always a lot of fun, and it is true. It is sad that pine forests in Lebanon are being destroyed by construction.

My Grandma sent us a bag full of ripe pine nuts from Lebanon last fall. My dad, who loves Lebanese pine, found out how trees are grown. He put some of them into a plastic bag with wet paper, and put the bag in fridge. Early in March, he showed me how the shells that he kept in the cold had split open to allow seedlings to grow. It is hard to believe that the shells are the same as the ones which Georges and I could only break with a stone.

Ed. Note... This story was sent in by Antoine Sioufi, Rana's and Georges's Dad. Our thanks to the family. Maybe the Lebanese nut pine (Pinus pinea) could grow in Canada: we will see. However, we know the Korea nut pine does, and its cones are resinous. Could the fire, a brazier, be a fruitful way to sell roasted pine nuts, grown in Canada, at Winterlude???

New Officers

Please note the change of ECSONG officers for 1994/95.

Our new chair is: Dr. Ralph McKendry, 50 Lynwood Ave., Ottawa, Ont., K1Y 2B3.

Our new Vice-chair is: Len Collett, RR # 4 - Box 25, Lanark, Ont., K0G 1K0.

Congratulations, and best wishes to both!

Note also that the annual fees for membership in ECSONG have changed to $15 per year, starting in 1995. Advertising in the Nuttery Marketplace will cost $10 a quarter page per issue, also starting in 1995.

Greetings from a New (Old) Chair

Obviously it was bound to happen that Hank Jones must take respite from some of the burgeoning load of chores he so willingly shouldered in the interests of ECSONG. I just hoped lt wouldn't happen in my lifetime and particularly not during my vice-chairship of the organization.

But it has! Hank's resolve to relinquish the helm, albeit to an untried mate, was respected by the Nominating Committee, accepted by the membership at the recent Annual General Meeting and acceded to, with apprehension, by the principle victim, your new chair.

However, the news is not all bad because Hank will still be on board as pilot and still working at least twice as hard as anyone else - mining his motherlode of goodwill and contacts, editing and publishing The Nuttery, organizing the Nut Growers Workshop, and with it all being made to look even better thanks to Mary Jane's help and advice. (If the Editor should try, out of modesty or other sentiment, to blue pencil this paragraph, it is my intention to pull rank and insist on its inclusion).

So this piece is in no sense a eulogy but rather an accolade and a thanksgiving for so much effective work done in the past as well as for that confidently anticipated. In spite of the fact that Hank will still be in harness and pulling more than his load, your new chair needs all the support, moral and muscular, that members can supply. You will know that Hank, a visionary and builder, seldom turned down any opportunity to extend ECSONG's sphere of activities. As a result we are becoming overextended in managing current commitments, let alone those on the back burner, and hence need to recruit a higher proportion of members to more active participation.

To ascertain more about members' particular interests and abilities we will be developing a questionnaire to be mailed with a future issue of The Nuttery. Please complete and return this when it arrives so your Executive will be in a better position to offer possibilities where your talents and inclinations can both find satisfying expression.

Again, thanks Hank, for nurturing ECSONG through infancy and adolescence to its present state of maturity but keep in mind that even mature organisms sometimes need a bit of hand-holding.

Ralph McKendry

Ed. Note... ECSONG is held in high regard today because of the vision and shrewd leadership provided by past Chairs Fil Park, Bob Scally, and above all Alec Jones, who also has been the unfaltering mastermind guiding ECSONG's stellar rise since its founding.

Provided by ECSONG. Feel free to copy with a credit.