In this Issue...
A bust fall faces members of ECSONG. This year is proving to be one of the best seed production years for some time. Tree every where are heavy with nuts. Make this the year you collect a bonanza. Alcon Industries in Nepean is ready to hull, wash and dry your harvest for easy, trouble-free winter storage.
This issue begins with the announcements of four important fall field days to choose form (take all four, and get a wide variety of seed!). The first field day at Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove promises seed form a number of species. The second field day, at Oak Valley, will show the exemplary nursery work of George Truscott and his crew. The third field day, at the Dolman Ridge Plantations, is a biggy for seed, as well as an opportunity to learn the finer skills of pruning. Last but not least, the Second Nut Culture Tour of Eastern Ontario, will swing eastward to Cornwall region and the Akwasasne.
In the News, we hear again of an opportunity to contribute to what may become a major tree planting effort in Ottawa, near Billings Avenue, and a similar exercise in Rockcliffe. Also, there is an update on the Oak Crops Industry initiative, and a review of a fascinating article about oaks in California.
In the Projects section, we get some updates on progress in the at Dolman and in the Pioneer Homesteads Memorial Park co-located with the Oak Valley Plantation.
Turning to the Nut Grower section, we see ideas and possible future for G Howard Ferguson Nursery, about a bumper crop year for nuts, about advances in Alcon's hulling services, and more on the ECSONG website.
Check out nut product and service suppliers in the Nuttery Marketplace section.
If you need information membership or members, see the last section of The Nuttery.
FRP Nut Grove Fall Field Day
This year many of the trees are bearing fruit. All in all it has been a very good year at the FRP Nut Grove.
The fall field day will be held Saturday, September 14, 1996. This is work day for inspecting the grove and preparing it for the coming winter. It has become an attractive site for picnicking, so come on over with lunch and refreshments, and your family, friends and neighbours! Bring your complement of tree tending tools.
For more information call Cliff Craig.
Oak Valley Progress
Our Oak Valley Plantation Committee, chaired by Ralph McKendry, reports a very good year of progress for the plantation in Oak Valley near Winchester Springs, Ontario.
The Fall Field Day for the plantation will be held on Saturday, October 21, 1996. Take advantage of the achievements to be seen and learned, so you can apply them yourself. Lend a hand. Everyone is welcome, including members, friends and neighbours. Arrive anytime after 9:00 AM. Plan to stay the day. Bring a picnic. Take a family picture in the lovely setting. Inspect the new Pioneer Homesteads Memorial Park. For more information, call Ralph.
Dolman Ridge Plantations Fall Field Day.
Being that 1996 has been a bumper year for nut crops, Dolman Ridge is no exception. Prepare to collect a bounty from the various species of trees growing there. The Fall Field Day will be held on Saturday, September 28, 1996, starting at 10:00 AM. Meet in the parking lot opposite the entrance to the Geomagnetics Laboratory on Anderson Road. Bring a lunch and refreshments. Bring your pruning equipment, and bags to collect nuts.
For more information contact Hank Jones or Ted Cormier or Steve Palmer. See you and family at Dolman this fall!
The Second Nut Culture Tour of Eastern Ontario
The 1996 ECSONG Fall Field Day on Saturday, October 5, 1996 will be the Second Nut Culture Tour in Eastern Ontario. As this will be a seed gathering tour, bring impermeable bag containers. The tour will originate and terminate at the Chimo Inn, Ottawa. We will travel by 47-seat intercity tour coach and by Akwasasne-provided boat. The fee is $30 per person, lunch included. Onboard, enroute briefings will be given preparatory to stops. An information package will be handed out at the start. The tour is being hosted jointly by ECSONG, the Sustainable Forestry Conference and the Akwasasne. As well, it is being sponsored by Cobjon Enterprises Inc. of Ottawa, Alcon Industries of Nepean, The Seed Source of Oxford Mills and Source Wood Products of Cornwall.
We will be visiting several sites between Ottawa and Cornwall, Ontario. The Dolman Ridge Plantations, including the American Chestnut Plantation and the Black Walnut Plantation, will be the first stop. We will then visit Glengary Park, tour the site, inspect the various species, and collect seed. Our third stop will be Lancaster, Ontario, where will see Kentucky Coffee Trees. We will then move on to Cornwall, to me Guy Lefebvre of Source Wood Products, tour his facility on the harbour front, and have lunch next door.
After lunch, if we have good boat weather, we will be embarking to visit Sheik island in the Akwasasne to meet hosts Henry Lickers and Richard David. We will be experiencing a campsite, touring the island’s nut trees, and possibly having special refreshments.
However, if we have bad boat weather, then we will be leaving Cornwall on the return leg to Ottawa. Enroute, we will be visiting the Oak Valley Plantation near Winchester Springs, Ontario, followed by the Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove at Kars, Ontario. Thence, back to the Chimo Inn.
The ECSONG organizing committee for the tour includes Ted Cormier, Guy Lefebvre, Dave Chapeskie, Henry Lickers and Hank Jones.
It is recommended that you preregister for the Tour as space is limited. To preregister, send a cheque for $30 payable to "Canadian Institute of Forestry", with a note saying your are registering for "Tour C, The Nut Culture Tour" to the following address: OPFA/CIF Conference, c/o Canadian Institute of Forestry, Suite 606, 151 Slater Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5H3. For more information, contact Roxanne Comeau at 234-2242.
Nut Planting Opportunity in Alta Vista
The Faircrest Community Association is working on a ambitious program to plant trees on a piece of National Capital Commission (NCC) land bounded by Lynda Lane, Billings Avenue and Smyth Road. While the details are being worked out, the Association is undertaking a nursery in the Robert Andrew Russell Park on Billings Avenue in preparation. The organizers, including Joyce Wright (731-8521) and Joanne Frembd (733-8084) are asking for help with nut trees and shrubs for the nursery. Members who have an interest in this area and the project should get in touch with Joanne.
A Rockcliffe Nut Planting project
This past winter, a new, major sewer project cut a swath ten meters wide by ten meters deep along the steep, southern shoreline of MacKay Lake in Rockcliffe. Soon this strip will be ready for planting back to native, natural cover (with a narrow walking trail down the middle).
Iola Price, an ECSONG member, is in charge of the restoration. She plans to include native nut trees and shrubs in the work. She is asking where she might obtain a few native plants such as hazels, hickories, walnuts, oaks and buckeyes. If you have trees or shrubs to spare, or know where specimens might gotten from the wild, Iola will be very interested.
Anyone with information or specimens is asked to contact Iola.
A proposed Canadian Oak Crops Industry
Cobjon Enterprises Inc. proposes to prepare a plan to launch an industry in Canada offering native acorn products to a global marketplace.
The Cobjon plan could contain up to seven elements:
Rationale for an industry based on oak, and other naturally growing species.
On California Oak Crops
Jane Lynas, from Connecticut, recently sent the Nuttery an article from "Discovery" August 1996, entitled "Keepers of the Oaks". This fascinating article overturns the supposed myth that the Neolithic Amerindians of the region were primitive hunter/gathers. It seems that in fact they were agriculturists bent on harvesting acorns. However, they were not European style agriculturists who domesticated the plants, breeding new varieties and cultivars to replace the natural plants. Rather, the Californians were more agroforesters, using fire and other methods to remove competition from the native oaks, releasing them to spread and thus increase their production.
The article points out that the oaks already produce an easily-used fruit whose nutrition rivals the best of agricultural grains. And in a forest setting, their natural production per hectare can compare favourably (given that there would be almost no fossil-fuel inputs) to intensively managed farm crops.
Many thanks to Jane for sending us the article. We hope, should she find similar literature, she would forward same to the Nuttery post-haste!
Dolman Ridge Plantations
These plantations are bounded by Anderson, Borthwick Ridge & Dolman Ridge Roads.
Nine members of ECSONG met at the Anderson Road, NCC parking lot on June 8 1996. Due to the rain we only managed to visit a few nut plantation sites, such as the one at the parking lot. This site had previously been cleaned up by Ted Cormier's group in early spring by removing all inferior tree species and pruning off the lower branches on the nut trees. Thank you Ted for a great effort.
The Black Walnut plantation on Borthwick Ridge Road needs thinning. by keeping the best quality trees and removing the lower dead branches, but smaller trees can be saved if they do not interfere with the dominant trees.
We also checked out the scattered nut tree species at the former headquarters site on Dolman Ridge Road but no maintenance of the few nut trees there is necessary, except maybe to prune off lower branches.
A quick checkup on cone production in the Korean Nut Pine plantation on the west end of Borthwick Ridge was carried out. Cones were found
Attempts were made to visit the Dolman Ridge nut tree plantations between Anderson Road and the former workshop and nursery site, but the steel fence along the road makes it difficult to reach the site. However, it might become necessary to insert a small gate in the fence in front of the plantations, or to make a special trail to the site through the gate on Anderson road.
It has become quite urgent to clean up the rest of the plantations, as I had planned some years ago. The Oak plantations, especially the Bur Oak, is not only important for nut production, but ever so much for the valuable wood quality. It must be emphasized that generally all nut tree species produce high quality wood products. Therefore, it is urgent to remove all dead branches which otherwise will introduce serious decay to the center of the tree. Dead branches can be removed anytime of the year, but live branches are best removed in late Fall and Winter. It would be important to find a buyer for small Bur Oak poles in a major thinning project.
A survey of nut bearing trees should be conducted in the Fall especially of chestnut, Hickory, Walnut and White Oak species.
Establishment of more nut trees on the ridges should be emphasized.
PS The government buildings on the site were up for rent. We become curious as to the price. If it were low, maybe the nut growers collectively could afford the place, to be used as a headquarters and factory for nut development and processing. However, on investigation, I found the asking price was at commercial rates, meaning the building would cost almost $2000 per month. End of discussion!
Pioneer Farmsteads Memorial Project
When ECSONG first became involved with its Oak Valley project a notable feature of the South Nation River Conservation Authority's 8-acre property there was the presence of the ruins of two barn foundations - the larger one of poured concrete was strewn with burned timbers and roofing tin and the other 50' to the west was a rubble of broken limestone under a tangled jungle of Manitoba maples. Remains of two dug wells were also noted nearby but no evidence of a house foundation could be found.
Enquiry of neighbours indicated there had been a house south of the barns which was destroyed 15 years earlier because it was on the course of a new channel being excavated to minimize spring flood problems, The gravestone of a child was said to have been removed about that time and might still be in the neighbourhood.
As we pursued our desultory efforts toward establishing a nut tree plantation the presence of these ruins were a constant reminder that others had toiled hard and long ago to wrest land and a living from this site. This awareness provoked a mild sense of rebuke but also a challenge to learn something about those who pioneered here.
This led to "discovery" of Clarence Cross, a veritable fountainhead of information about farm families and farms in this as well as several surrounding townships. He knew the place well having visited it and researched its history at the instigation of a Bickford descendent named William Likins, a lawyer from St Paul, Minnesota.
The "Bigford place" (later spelled Bickford) was indeed an ancient farmstead in terms of Mountain township settlements at least since the patent from the Crown was dated 1802 and Bickfords had occupied it continuously for over 80 years of the l9th century.
The idea grew that some pioneer farmsteads and particularly those which, like the Bickford place, had virtually disappeared were worthy of some kind of memorialization somewhere. Mr Likins indicated support for the idea but unfortunately died before a plan could be developed and communicated to him. However, his widow has maintained contact and involvement to ensure that the Bickford place is memorialized as her husband would have wished.
Since the Oak Valley property had been part of a pioneer farmstead, was securely in the public domain and in process of being developed as a park it seemed a suitable site for a memorial park. A proposal drafted in 1993 failed to gain support from the Eastern Valley Heritage Foundation (EVHF). Since involvement by a charitable organization would be needed for success the project was shelved.
However, when efforts at cleaning up the small barn foundations late in 1994 unexpectedly unearthed a layer consisting of 50 to 60 boulders of monumental sizes this was regarded as a form of Divine prompting to consider using them for monuments.
So the project proposal was dusted off and upgraded. The boulders were deployed about 25' apart along main interior roads, the top of the riverbank and the perimeter of the nursery thus defining some 2 acres extending across the middle of the property from entrance gate to the river. The boulders will serve for mounting of memorial plaques and memorial nut trees can be grown between them. By the spring of 1995 approval had been obtained from the boards of SNRCA, ECSONG and EVHF to develop a Pioneer Farmsteads Memorial Park as part of the Oak Valley plantation.
A Farmsteads Memorial Committee of the EVHF was formed with representatives from the three organizations: Peter White from EVHF, Josée Brizard from SNRCA and Ralph McKendry from ECSONG as Chair. Other members include Clarence Cross as Historian and Marshia Countryman, the Secretary of EVHF, as Secretary/Treasurer. Before operating procedures were well defined or routine documents developed and before any general publicity six families had subscribed. Attention is now focussed on signage, on design, casting and mounting of plaques and on setting up archives which will be an important component of many memorials. There to whatever data the Historian gleans from census and property records will be added copies of any genealogical, historical, photographic or other memorabilia a family might wish to see securely preserved in a known locale - actually the township offices in Spencerville.
Dedication of the Memorial Park at Oak Valley took place on the evening of June 21, 1996. By 7 PM nearly sixty people had gathered beside the new signboard near the gate The several reeves of the neighbouring towns and townships spoke in praise of the Park. Clarence Cross recounted the history of the site. Other dignitaries also spoke about their various interests in the Park. Special note was taken of the present memorials. An opportunity given for comments by a member of each sponsoring family to speak. A brochure is available at the site, or form Ralph McKendry which explains the Park, and includes an application form for anyone wishing ta memorial.
Ralph McKendry, Chair Pioneer Farmsteads Memorial Project.
Nut Crop Projections for 1996
As the 1996 nut growing season gets started here in Eastern Ontario, what size of crop might we expect come the fall? The Nuttery wants to find out, so it is asking members to watch their trees, and those of their neighbourhoods as well, as the summer unfolds. As the seasons progress, note the flowering, then the seed set, and the maturing of the nuts. Determine the numbers and species of the trees. Try to make a crop estimate, say in units such as bushels, or in numbers of nuts, on each tree. Remember, even no crop is a crop estimate. When you are reasonably sure about the set and the likely harvest, send the data to the Nuttery. Include your name, approximate tree locations and the date along with your estimates. You can phone 998-8917 in Ottawa if there is little to report, or fax your data to 993-8528, send by letter to The Nuttery, c/o Cobjon Enterprises Inc., PO Box1349, Station B, 59 Sparks St, Ottawa K1P 5R4.
The data will be compiled with the help of Cobjon Enterprises Inc, and the results reported in the next issue of The Nuttery in September, 1996.
Alcon's nut processing services
Alcon, the company that provides nut hulling services to nut growers and harvesters in the eastern Ontario region, has begun an R&D program to expand this service.
The program will develop a Canadian designed -and-made, hand-nutcracker for sale. The possibility of an hydraulic cracker device is under investigation. Also, a continuous, motor-driven cracker will be developed.
The program will finalize the design of the third generation nut huller and build a commercial model. A larger huller is being considered that would run off a farm tractor's PTO. A hulled-nut washer and drier will be built that will complement the hulling machines to deliver thoroughly clean and dry nuts for bagging.
It is planned that some of these pieces of equipment will be ready this fall in time for the harvest in late September. The present hullers are being modified again to improve their performance. These will be the first line machines for this year's harvest.
Alcon is ramping up for the large crop that 1996 is promising to deliver. Machines will be available at Alcon for do-it-yourself, or for full-service hulling well before the crops start coming in.
For more information, call Mark at Alcon 723-9648.
ECSONG Calendar of Meetings and Events for the1996/97 program
Minutes of 1996 Annual General Meeting
The 1996 Annual General Meeting was held at McManus Interpretive Center of the Baxter Conservation Area at 1030h, March 16, 1996
Present were about 30 members. The Chair was Ralph McKendry and Len Collett acted as recording Secretary in the absence of George Truscott who was out of the country.
The Chair welcomed members and guest and thanked our host, Cliff Craig - and the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority.
Minutes of Previous AGM - Len Collett read the minutes of the 1995 AGM and moved their adoption. Mark Schaeffer seconded. No errors or omissions being noted, the minutes were adopted by unanimous vote.
Business arising - None.
Treasurer's report - Art Read, the Treasurer, had notified the Chair that he would be away in California and no current accounting was available. The bank balance was known to be >$700 two months ago and little or nothing spent since so members were assured were in the black but not 80 far that remittance of dues should be delayed. An accounting will appear in later issue of The Nuttery.
Public Relations and "The Nuttery" were subjects of reports by Hank Jones. He indicated that 115 copies of each issue were mailed to members and an additional 35 to other individuals and organizations with which we interact. Hank has created an ECSONG site on the Internet, the better to spread the gospel worldwide.
Announcements about upcoming events included the Urban Forest Workshop on April 20th at Ottawa City Hall where we will have a booth and Ottawa Home and Garden Show on Easter weekend where we may (or may not, since there is a requirement that the booth be staffed for the better part of four days).
REPORTS OF COMMITTEES AND PROJECTS
Fillmore Park Liaison Committee - Cliff Craig reported that during Fall Field Day a memorial to George Joiner had been dedicated in the presence of some members of his family, The memorial tree is a swamp white oak and the marker a bronze plaque on a boulder. Agroforestry students from KCAT use the nut grove as a learning resource. Envirofest was successful in raising funds and awareness and will be repeated in 1996. Alec Jones provided guided tours of the nut grove for many visitors to Envirofest. Spring Field day will be May 4 or 11.
Terry McEvoy notified members of the opportunity to assist the RVCA Foundation by purchasing pickets for the canoe raffle and a concert. Arboretum Liaison Committee - Alec Jones deplored policy changes designed to reduce Agriculture Canada's budget and responsibility for the Arboretum to virtually nothing within a few years. Friends of the Farm group are establishing a Trust in the hope of being able to enlist the support needed to preserve this valued facility and keep it operational.
Eastern Ontario Nut Culture Project - Ted Cormier indicated that there were now 30 or more sites and the work was so well received that budget cuts were minimal. A butternut canker workshop is planned for June at Dolman Ridge. He has earmarked $1000 for the releasing and pruning of nut trees planted there by Moe Anderson some 20 years ago.
Ted also referred to progress (or lack of it) in finding operators to take over the G H Ferguson Tree Nursery which is up for sale. It is fortunately zoned as agricultural land so not liable to be subdivided for housing.
Dolman Ridge Project - Steve Palmer was not present to report but had recently conferred with Ted about plans to improve the stands of nut trees there. Volunteer help may be sought for this work.
Lanark Project - Len Collett reported that the site was being sold by the Youth Services Bureau but that every effort would be made to have any purchaser protect and enhance nut tree plantings there.
Oak Valley Plantation Committee - Ralph reported the site looked neater in 1995 as wider smoother trails gave access for tending and mowing. Some 2 acres in the mid-section of the property is being designated Pioneer Farmsteads Memorial Park, a conjoint project with SNRCA and Eastern Valley Heritage Foundation. Markers will be bronze plaques mounted on glacial boulders or adjacent to memorial nut trees. An opening or dedication is planned for the evening of June 21 following picnic suppers. 6 or 7 families have subscribed to date @$350 each and casting of plaques is under way.
- SNRCA will plant 1000 red oaks in Section West this spring as part of a program financed by a Swiss watch firm. We will add to the pine nut orchard and plant a variety of trees in bare areas where Manitoba maples were clawed out of Section East last Fall. About two thirds of the Nursery will be planted and the remainder "sterilized" by use of carpet mulch. Though SNRCA must scale back on forestry we hope last year's success with planting black walnuts in openings of a conifer plantation down river will justify continuing this low budget "outreach" which has potential to yield a more diverse, interesting and valuable forest in a generation or two. Nomination Committee - Hank Jones proposed the following slate of officers which, there being no other nominations, was adopted:
Chair - Len Collett Vice-Chair - Ted Cormier Secretary - George Truscott Treasurer - Art Read
The retiring chair offered congratulations/condolences and before adjourning the business session presented the President's Award for service to the Chapter to Ted and Isabelle Cormier. In making the presentation Ralph acknowledged his own as well as the Chapter's debt and gratitude for their many and effective efforts "above and beyond the call of duty."
BREAK for lunch, exhibits and tour of the nut grove extended from 1200 to 1345h
"Stratification" was the topic of the first presentation by Pam Smith from the Kemptville nursery. Her thoroughgoing expose of this mysterious process prompted many questions and should have the effect of improving germination rates in the hands of our members.
"Butternuts and their Future", particularly in Eastern Ontario was discussed by Guy Lefebvre of Source Wood Products in Cornwall. The main concern now relates to canker and finding ways to preserve the species. Searching for and propagating resistant trees seems the only approach of current promise and Guy is undertaking such activities in his area. Among many questions were some relating to salvaging lumber from diseased trees.
ADJOURNMENT - Meeting adjourned about 1515h.
Provided by ECSONG. Feel free to copy with a credit.