The Nuttery : Volume 17 Number 1 (1998)

In this Issue...

The planting season is upon us three weeks early this year! This means as well the nut grove are ahead of schedule. Check out the Spring's field day announcements for Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove (Baxter Conservation Area), The Dolman Ridge Plantations, and the Oak Valley Plantation.

In the Chapter Projects section, read about ECSONG's exhibit at the Flower and Garden Show in Ottawa in April. Follow up on the Annual General Meeting. Check out the ECSONG website.

In the news arena, consider the impact of the new ECSONG Research Prize just launched. How about helping organize a Nut Tour for this fall? Want to be one TV - get involved in the filming of the first North American Nutting Bee. Or try your hand at dyeing with nut products.

In the Grower section, discover that squirrels are your friends, according to acclaimed nut grower and prosologist Sandy Graham. Recall Ralph McKendry's legacy to ECSONG and the South Nation River region, and his vision of the future that will live on.

Send in your articles for publication by any means at hand - use oakgall ink of course to pen the words!

See you at the Field Days!

FRP Nut Grove Spring Field Day '98 at Baxter

There is a dramatic map in a recent edition of Canadian Geographic magazine, showing the path of the ice storm (or, rather, ice storms) last January. The area of greatest ice accumulation began just north of Kars and Osgoode and extended to the south, including the nut grove. Despite the weight of the ice, most of the trees fared reasonably well. I managed to visit the grove a couple of times before heavy snow fell and did some emergency pruning. There is still a lot to be done. Some trees may have to be removed. Others will have to have high limbs removed. I therefore invite you to come out for the FRP Nut Grove SPRING FIELD DAY on MAY 9, 1998. Bring your lunch, refreshments, loppers and saws with you for a day of strenuous exercise. Anyone with the experience and equipment to remove high limbs is especially welcome!

The idea of creating the FRP nut grove first surfaced in 1978, and the first trees were planted in 1979. Thus, the coming year will be twentieth anniversary of the founding the Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove, now named for its founder, Fil Park. Plans are afoot to groom the pond site, expand the perimeter to include the half-a-dozen large Bur Oaks and other volunteer nut trees growing there in the grove, improve access, and generally prepare for hosting the twentieth anniversary celebration onsite. This work will likely continue all summer.

Call me (Sandy Graham) at 489-4159 for details.

Dolman Ridge Spring Field Day

Chris Cummins, the new Chair of the Dolman Ridge Liaison Committee, announces that the public spring field day will be held on Saturday, May 23, 1998 from 9:30 AM to about 3:30 PM. Participants meet in the parking lot on Anderson Road near Mer Bleu across from the entrance to the federal Geomagnetic Laboratory. Bring your field books and tools, your lunch and refreshments. There is a lot of nature to see at the Dolman Ridge site, besides the several nut groves. The walking trails traverse most of the area, which is quite large. On the nut sites you can see black walnuts, butternuts, bur & other oaks, Kentucky coffee tree, Korean nut pine, shagbark & bitternut hickory, horsechestnut, ginkgo, etc.

The Dolman Ridge Plantations offer to oldest specimens of nut trees planted in the region, as this was Forestry Canada's Central Research Forest from the late sixties to the late seventies. Moe Anderson and Mark Schaefer were major players in the planting of the forest. Moe worked on all the nut plantations at one time or another, and Mark know the Korean Nut Pines best.

Developing maps and self-guided tours for Dolman are high on the agenda. Clearing around special specimens is needed. the butternuts are badly infected with canker, so you can see first-hand what the canker symptoms are.

An excursion to the site is planned for May 8 to help prepare for the Field Day - members are welcome on the excursion as well. For more information, contact Chris Cummins

Oak Valley Spring Field Days

Peter Carr, Chair of the Oak Valley Plantation Committee, announces two Spring Field Days for this year. The first, to be held Saturday, May 2, 1998, from about 9:30AM to 3:00PM, will focus on the newly arrival Butternut grafts. These butternuts are the first wave of apparently canker resistant species specimens in Ontario. Our nut grove has been chosen as one of the three archives in Ontario which will grow the trees to maturity. The seed will be tested for resistance, and if it qualifies, these trees will be providing a recovery population for the region. The Forest Gene Preservation Association is the lead agency in the research.

the second Spring Field day will be held on Saturday, May 30, 1998, during the same hours. Its goal is to further develop the grove, following the master plan, "Vision 2020", developed some years ago by Ralph McKendry.

Bring you nutting tools, your lunch, refreshments, family and friends - all welcome- and join a pleasant day in the country, outdoors! Call Peter Carr for more information.

Flower & Garden Show Results

The show, at the Coliseum in Ottawa s Lansdowne Park, ran Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the 24th through 26th of April 1998, attracting more than 10,000 visitors.

ECSONG's stall offered information and a variety of products, including its books, and sprouted nuts, seedlings, nutshell crafts, greeting cards, etc. contributed by members and friends.

Twelve members and friends of ECSONG helped staff the booth over the nearly forty hours of show time. Len and Genice Collett helped setup on Thursday night, and also put in booth time on Sunday afternoon. As well as putting in several hours at the booth, George Truscott offered potted 2 yr-old Black Walnut & 2 yr-old Butternut seedlings. Art Read, Ernie Kerr, Bob Humble and Kurt Wasner (Buckthorn Meadows Tree Farm) each took a turn as well. Vera Hrebacka, besides spending Sunday afternoon in the booth, offered greeting cards on nut themes, as well as the Visa machine, from her shop Vera's Gift Gallery and Boutique at 272 Elgin Street - she invites members visit her shop while downtown. Peter Carr spent two half-days, and also helped the take-down Sunday night. Alec and Kathleen Jones took their turns, and also prepared the Nuts-to-Gro! kits of Sweet American Chestnut for sale, and 2 Yellow Buckeye seedlings, 2 Black Oak Seedlings, and a Korean Nut Pine seedling for demonstration. Hank Jones managed the booth for the duration, and provided the Nuts-to-Sprout! kits of Black Walnut, Butternut, Horsechestnut, Yellow Buckeye, Shagbark Hickory, and Red Oak from seed obtained in the fall from various sources, mainly The Seed Source in Oxford Mills.

Backing up the participants, Ted and Isabelle Cormier (The Seed Source), through Henk and Heather Schapelhouman (Next Generation Tree Farm) provided 1 yr-old bare-root Black Walnut (50) and Butternut seedlings (20) for sale. Darryl Abbinett worked to produce our first Nutter's T-shirt, but we were not quite ready at show time - however, we will be seeing T-shirts soon! Karen Bertrand provided Butternut Beeswax Candles and Black Walnut Nutree Theme Ornaments. Joan and Howard Edel offered Butternut Handtowels and Washtowels, and made the eye-catching Nutters Hats worn by staff in the booth! L'il Sprouts Crafts, a fellow exhibitor, made a nutslice flower, a bracelet and a doll, to show how appealing nutshell craft can be even as simple objects.

Growing nut trees is an idea clearly catching on, judging by the high interest of the many visitors to our booth. Well over $400 was earned for ECSONG.

A Changing of the Guard

The past ECSONG Annual General Meeting (AGM), held at the McMannis Interpretive Centre in the Baxter Conservation Area (our thanks to the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority for allowing us the use of the facility), took place on Saturday, March 21, 1998. The morning dealt with business and the afternoon with a discussion on dealing with ice damaged trees.

The election of officers saw a changing of the guard. Our new executive is Ted Cormier (chair), George Truscott (vice-chair), Peter Carr (secretary) and Art Read (treasurer)

Many thanks from all members to the past executive. Len Collett as our chair for the past two years helped us make considerable progress on our nut groves, and opened the door for the development of commercial nut growing in the region. Len recognized that in ECSONG's first twenty years (1998 is our twentieth anniversary!) the emphasis has been on promoting nut growing and getting trees planted. Now, many of the earlier plantings are bearing fruit, and Len's vision has turned our attention to seeing that the region gets the benefits from the emerging new crop over the next twenty years. Thanks from all to Len and Genice, for their guidance and help!

George Truscott has been ECSONG's Secretary for many years, through several administrations. George's minutes have always been thorough, and an excellent read! George now moves on to take the Vice-chair of ECSONG. Many thanks, George, and good luck in your new role!

Art Read retains the coveted position of ECSONG treasurer, which he has held longer than anyone held any ECSONG executive role! Thanks, Art, for helping our busy, busy members remember to pay their dues - without your diligence the ECSONG membership ranks would be inadvertently much thinner!

The ECSONG Prize for student excellence in nut culture research was voted into existence, and could prove a strong stimulation to nut knowledge in the region in years to come.

In the afternoon, Mike Rosen, Stewardship Coordinator based in the Landowner Resource Centre in Manotick, lead a lively discussion on coping with ice damaged trees. Fortunately nut trees do better than most others species when it comes to heavy ice loading - a message that urban forestry people are coming to appreciate!

For more information on the AGM, contact Peter Carr, Secretary.

ECSONG Website underway

Development continues on the ECSONG website. Cobjon Enterprises Inc.'s Nutculture Services Division continues to host the website on its server. The design of the section called Nuttery Catalogue, which will carry all the past issues of The Nuttery, is almost finished. The rest of the layout has been identified, including the sections Home; About ECSONG; Marketplace; Sign Up; Members; and What's New.

The 'Home' page will identify our chapter and our parent organization, SONG. 'About ECSONG' will tell our history, mandate, goals, achievements (e.g. events, nut groves, with descriptions, maps, etc.) and organization (executive and committee members). 'Marketplace' will invite sponsors to place their multimedia information on the site in return for donations to support the website in particular and ECSONG in general. The 'Sign Up' will enable new members to fill out a membership form, and anyone to pay dues or make a donation. The 'Members' section will be password-closed to members only. It will carry information for which ECSONG membership is a prerequisite. Finally, the "What's New' section tells viewers what has changed on the site in the last few weeks or days or hours. It encourages them to come back frequently to get the latest scoop.

Navigation (i.e., turning the pages of the site, in a manner of speaking) will be provided several ways, besides the browser buttons. A sidebar frame will hyperlink the site Sections and all the Nuttery's. This feature enable one-step access to any section and any Nuttery. Also, on every page, there will be a footer, with an email hyperlink, that explains who manages the website, and who owns the copyright, and when the information was last updated.

Please visit the site, and email your comments.


At the 97/98 Annual General meeting (AGM) of ECSONG held in March, the ECSONG Research Prize was unanimously voted into existence. The prize rewards college students in the Eastern Ontario region for classroom research projects that further nut growing in Canada, and more particularly in this region. The award is $300 and the promise of publication of the work on the ECSONG website.

Dave Baker will head-up the ECSONG Prize Committee which will publicize the award, receive the submission, adjudicate the work, and recommend on the winners. The final decision will be made by the ECSONG executive in time to present the first-ever prize at the next AGM in 1999. The overall winner will be invite to present his work to the AGM. Dave is forming his committee, and is organizing work to complete the drafting of the announcements, being readied for release to the colleges in May, 1998. Should you wish to be considered for the committee, contact Dave at 742-7811.

A Nut Tour This Fall?

Our last all-day bus tour (the second one) of nut-producing regions in Eastern Ontario took place in 1996. It has been suggested that there should be a tour every other year, so 1998 is a candidate.

The tours have been held in the fall to coincide with nut harvests. Early October is the best time. The bus holds about 40 people and costs about $500 for the day. If we fill the bus, the cost per person would be under $15. This is for a very comfortable intercity bus with toilet facilities, TV and public address system. Lectures can be given during transit. The bus's cargo hold can carry home the nuts gathered at the stops.

To fill all the seats we could invite others to join the tour, including family, friends, neighbours, and students, teachers, professionals in agroforestry/nut programs and agencies. Institutions may help with expenses through funding over and above the cost of a ticket.

It takes a small group to organize and operate the tour, three to five people being sufficient. The group must decide date/times, hire the bus, advertise and sell seats, chose the itinerary, make the roster and handouts, arrange for enroute speakers, refreshments and lunch, and so on. Would you like to join the group (and ride free!)? Call Ted Cormier (ECSONG Chair) 258-2570, or contact the editor.

A Nutting Bee

A barn raising? A quilting bee? A nutree bee (see The Nuttery V.16, #2 - "A Tree Bee")? Everyone has heard of these sorts of events. But a Nutting Bee? The concept may be new. People getting together to take their individual parts in processing the nut harvest into its various products and byproducts. Such as hulling fresh nuts, cracking aged nut, nut dyeing, making nut butters, stratifying the best seed, preparing surpluses for long term storage, and so on. And sharing the products.

ECSONG will help make another episode of the Public Broadcasting System's (PBS in the USA) series "From A Country Garden" hosted by Anstace and Larry Esmonde-White of Kemptville. The episode will be a visit to the first Nutting Bee (at least the first in the Eastern Ontario region, and maybe North America). It is hoped that the Bee and its filming will take place in mid-October 1998 at the Baxter Conservation Area's McMannis Interpretive Centre and the Fillmore R. Park Nut Grove.

A program plan is being outlined by Hank Jones and Julie Dyer, a Communications Professional, who has volunteered to be our director for the filming, which will be done by a crew from WNPE/WNPI, the nearest PBS station to us, in upper New York State, USA.

ECSONG members, friends and the general public will be the players in the drama. By July, we will have a comprehensive outline for the Bee that will identify all the activities to be seen, and we will have talked to you ECSONG folks who might want to take on this part or that! The public will be invited to observe the Bee, and thus will be included in the film. Quite possibly, the Bee will include a 'market stall' of nut products for the public to buy - a fund raiser for ECSONG.

If you are interested in participating in the Nutting Bee, dyeing, cracking, cooking, nutshell art, etc., call Hank 828-5772 and leave a message.

Notes on Nut Dyes

As Cobjon Enterprises Inc. gears up its Nutculture Services Division, one item in preparation is a booklet on dyeing various fabrics, leathers and wood using pigments from nut plants.

It seems most of the nut trees and shrubs ECSONG is trying to place in the region produce usable pigments. The colours mostly are shades and hues of brown and black, but grays, yellows and golds appear feasible.

The pigments can come from various parts of the plants, including the nut husk and shell, and the leaves, bark, and roots. The dyes can be used on at least cotton, wool, linen, silk, and possibly on other fabrics as well. Apparently, most of the colours can be made fast, though sometimes it may not be all that easy to do so.

One of the benefits of making this information widely available (at a moderate cost) will be to encourage growers and harvesters to keep plant parts that might otherwise be wasted, and show how to preserve them for future use, even for sale.

See the related article in this issue on the Nutting Bee TV program ECSONG and its colleagues will be making.

Squirrels Are Our Friends

There are many advantages to living in the country. Here in the village of Kars we are the beneficiaries of a unique tree-planting service operated by some enterprising local squirrels. Up on the esker behind the manse stands a large old black walnut tree. Every autumn, we settle onto the verandah to watch the squirrels carry the green 'tennis balls" across the main street and bury them in our perennial borders and vegetable garden. The following spring, we usually find five to ten black walnut seedlings growing in the most inconvenient places.

I have given some seedlings away and transplanted others in groups of three, with the intention of selecting the best to grow on and harvesting the others for black walnut broom handles or extremely narrow panelling. Out of curiosity, I left one seedling in the border just to see what would happen. I forgot about it until last year when suddenly the slender pole threw out four large branches and started displaying tree-like ambition. It started to shade the rose arbour and kill valuable perennials with its roots. Last fall I made a mental note to try to move the monster.

This spring, I approached the walnut which was now looking very comfortable in the border. I have read about legendary black; walnut tap roots and feared the worst I put the perennials aside and started digging. I anticipated finding the end of the root firmly embedded in the carboniferous period, After three or four sorties with the spade, I was astonished to find that the tree moved easily. Closer inspection revealed that the root had met a large rock about half a metre under the surface of the soil and then started travelling horizontally. The root ran sideways for about a metre and then split into two tap roots which plunged precipitously through a previous owner's discarded collection of aluminum pie plates and into the rich soil After much digging and swearing, I finally freed the two tap roots and carted the tree off to replace a Manitoba maple thankfully felled by the ice storm.

Despite the work, I am convinced that my transplanting was made easier by the horizontal tap root. I still don't know whether the tree will survive its relocation but I am now considering raising my own easily-transplanted black walnut cultivar ("Roadmaster"?). If I can only train the squirrels to plant the walnuts in the rock garden.

Sandy Graham, Kars

Ralph McKendry's Legacy

Dr McKendry passed away this spring, and will be sorely missed by us all. An energetic, inspiring and prescient man, his legacy will inspire ECSONG for many years to come. Inter alia, for the past several years, Ralph has worked tirelessly toward his vision of a nut grove and memorial park at Oak Valley that would enrich the region in many ways. Ralph always brought out the best in his fellows, and one sees this clearly in the tremendous strides his team made in realizing the vision.

Ralph began by taking on the development of the Oak Valley Plantation, a major project started by Irene (Woolford) Broad over a decade ago. Building up a strong team of expert nut growers and local residents, he rallied ECSONG with a vision of the future he called "Vision 2020" (an optometrist's pun I think!), the nut grove as it should appear in the year 2020. The plan has guided the team over the years and will undoubtedly continue to do so for many years to come.

Ralph took ECSONG's concept of a nut grove one major step further, and lead the creation of the Pioneer Homestead Memorial Park, co-located with the nut grove. The result is a site that looks both towards the future as the trees flourish, and connects to the past through the huge boulders with their commemorative plaques dedicated to the earliest pioneer families in the region.

We now must consolidate Ralph's work, and continue on towards Vision 20/20!

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