The Blakeney Project: Report for Year Two - theHumm December 2022
The Blakeney Project: Report for Year Two - theHumm December 2022
By David Hinks
Many in our community are aware of The Blakeney Project of the Lanark County Food Bank (The Hunger Stop) as a result of walking, cycling or driving past our two-acre field that fronts on Blakeney Road on the east side of Blakeney. We have now completed our second full year of operation and are quite excited about developments this year — we were able to harvest over 10,000 pounds of fresh produce for Food Bank clients and we were able to connect in new ways with the community through the development of partnerships with the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum, the Dave Smith Treatment Centre and Climate Network Lanark.
First, a bit of history. Generous landowners and grant money from federally funded programs allowed the Hunger Stop to transform a two-acre field into a gardening paradise in 2021. The land is a small irregularly shaped parcel squeezed between a county road and a 30-foot-deep ravine. It is not suitable for modern industrial agriculture, and for the previous twenty or more years it had been used mainly for sheep pasturing. An important part of the project is a 3000-square foot metal-clad pole barn that provides lockable storage for tools and equipment, storage for straw, eavestrough to collect rainwater, water storage tanks and pump, room to lay out vegetables to dry and cure, and work space for volunteers.
With the federal grant we were able to purchase a large rototiller, a lawn tractor, a yard cart, hand tools, three large water tanks, work benches, a work shed, a large quantity of organic straw, seeds, seedlings and an irrigation system. In 2022 we added a fourth 1250-gallon water storage tank.
In its first year, the project was wildly successful. We harvested 18,000 pounds of produce and had over thirty volunteers committing to weekly three-hour shifts. That first year was a bit of an experiment — we did not really know what the very heavy clay soil would produce. Although it is hard to till and work with, it is amazingly fertile and holds unbelievable amounts of moisture. We accepted thousands of donated seedlings and planted them all. The results were not uniform — all the cucumber plants died, the eggplant did not set fruit, but the amazing harvests of beans, zucchini, butternut squash and tomatoes overwhelmed volunteers at the Food Bank who were responsible for distributing and processing this abundance.
Our Board of Directors and Manager insisted on a bit more planning and that we try to tailor our plantings to client needs and wants. We also decided to say no to donors who offer thousands of their surplus seedlings — apparently we didn’t really need 150 eggplant seedlings!
Production in 2022 was considerably less than 2021, but we were much more successful at producing the vegetables that clients wanted and spreading out the production so that Food Bank volunteers were not overwhelmed. We grew a lot more onions, garlic, pumpkins, rutabaga and peppers in 2022 and planted more cover crops that will be worked in to improve the structure of the soil. We grew disease-resistant tomato and pepper plants from seed ourselves. Squash, zucchini, carrots, cucumbers and melons did not do so well in 2022. More pests and perhaps the alternating hot and cool weather in early summer were factors.
Back to the partnerships.
The Textile Museum organized a dozen or so volunteers who were interested in growing plants that can be used to dye fabrics. The Blakeney Project provided 1,200 square feet of land and water. Textile Museum volunteers created four growing beds, seedlings and larger plants were carefully planted in the soil, and a roster of volunteers was set up to regularly weed, water and harvest seeds, roots and leaves. It has been a great learning experience for everyone with exchanges of knowledge and techniques between vegetable growers and flower growers — who knew that woad could be used to create a blue dye? This partnership has worked well for everyone and will likely be expanded next year with workshops.
The partnership with the Dave Smith Treatment Centre (DSTC) was a huge success for all involved. Teams came out to Blakeney on Saturdays, with females one Saturday and males the next. We had up to a dozen young adults with their staff each Saturday. It was a fantastic experience dealing with them. Most were keen to learn about growing food and enjoyed working in an outdoor environment. They were extremely polite, eager to please, very diligent weeders and quite hard working. It was quite moving, as some of the participants professed such gratitude for an opportunity that apparently they had never had before. There was a bit of a competitive spirit with both genders keen to learn that they had worked harder and accomplished more than the other. Staff of the DSTC noted that the partnership was very rewarding, as they are always striving to develop healthy life skills for their youth. They are looking forward to continuing the partnership.
The third partnership is with the composting team at Climate Network Lanark. They have arranged for the “waste” streams of Hummingbird Chocolate and Equator Coffee to be delivered to the Blakeney site and added to our 40-foot-long compost pile. Cocoa shells and coffee grounds are layered with garden refuse in an aromatic blend that promises an amazing crop next season.
We have had around 50 volunteers involved in different aspects of the Blakeney Project. There are about 30 volunteers who got down and dirty with a three-hour shift once a week. Others get involved in planning and other short-term projects. While some were experienced, most were not. If you are interested in being part of our project in the future, please phone the Lanark County Food Bank (the Hunger Stop) at 257–8546.
Evgenia Badiyanova — Watercolour Whimsy - theHumm December 2022
By Sally Hansen
Art… and Soul
On her Etsy global marketplace shop, Carleton Place artist Evgenia Badiyanova describes her delightful watercolour art as “Real life with a whimsical twist.” Since whimsical is defined as “Playfully quaint or fanciful, especially in an appealing and amusing way” (wordhippo.com), it is the perfect descriptor. Her artworks are beautifully drawn and painted, and her forte is the humourous twist with which she presents her endearing characters.
Did You Know… - theHumm December 2022
By — Kris, Rob and Rona
… that since we began publishing our weekly Hummail e-newsletter back in April of 2020 we have put out a whopping 131 editions? Most editions feature interviews with creative local movers and shakers, and now that events have come back online they all include a round-up of upcoming happenings with links to websites and ticket outlets!
So if you sometimes forget to check your print issue of theHumm later on in the month but don’t want to miss anything, we hummbly recommend that you sub......
Back Forty Artisan Cheese Holiday Event - theHumm December 2022
On Saturday, December 10 from 10am to 4pm, Back Forty Artisan Cheese will be hosting their annual Holiday Open House at their farm and dairy in the hamlet of Mississippi Station. This festive event will provide customers with a great opportunity to stock up on some delicious cheese for the holiday season — the Back Forty gift basket is sure to please the cheese lover on your list! To make this a customer appreciation day, they are offering 15% off selectcheeses as well as free sampling......
Showing the Local Love for the Holidays! - theHumm December 2022
By Kris and Rob Riendeau
Here at theHumm we’re big on local economies. The retail and service businesses in the small towns that we cover play a huge role in the cultural life of those towns. Each store, restaurant, or small enterprise attracts and serves a particular clientele — some inside the community, some from outside. Some businesses host their own special events; others join together with local festivals to make the whole experience more vibrant. Many provide support in cash or in kind to local initiatives. All of them add their own particular flavour to the delicious mix that is small-town Ottawa Valley.......
Folkus Concert Series BringsNeighbours & Friends to the Stage in 2023 - theHumm December 2022
By Sandy Irvin
Almonte’s Folkus Concert Series is thrilled to announce that we are having a 2023 season! We’re celebrating friends and neighbours of the series — some stunning local talent, some old friends and friends of theirs from far away, and a brand-new project featuring original music created especially for you. It’s hard to believe we’ve been putting on shows since 2002!
Our first show, on January 28, will feature Jim Bryson, the Steinway piano and friends. Jim Bryson is a songwriter’s s......
Harmony Concerts Presents Lynn Miles and Anna Ludlow - theHumm December 2022
Harmony Concerts, a boutique series operating in and around the Ottawa area, is presenting two outstanding seasonal events at Studio Theatre Perth. The first takes place on December 15 and features award-winning, and always entertaining, Lynn Miles. The second will close out Harmony Concerts’ 2022 series at the theatre on December 17 with award-winning Celtic star Anna Ludlow.
Lynn Miles will be accompanied by the Crusty Mittens String Quartet for her show Winter. She wrote this secular......
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever Presented by the Smiths Falls Community Theatre - theHumm December 2022
By — Submitted Smiths Falls Community Theatre
The Smiths Falls Community Theatre is pleased to present The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. This heartwarming comedic play is adapted from the young adult book by Barbara Robinson. It is being directed by Liz Stienberg and Brittany Wiessler.
Helen Armstrong is the chief organizer of the church. She organizes everything from potluck suppers to the Christmas Pageant. Things go awry when Helen breaks her leg and has to find another woman to direct the pageant. Grace Bradley steps in and things ......
Service of Nine Lessons & Carols - theHumm December 2022
By Peter Woodwark
40 is a lot of years. Half a life, most of one’s working life, the age at which one might get some sense. And this will be the 40th Christmas that the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols will be sung at St. James’ Anglican Church in Perth.
During those 40 years over ten thousand, young and old, have come to hear the comfortable readings of the Christmas story, to sing the old familiar carols, and to listen to the choir interpret seasonal anthems very old and just old, just new and hot off t......
Book Honouring Local Weaver at Textile Museum - theHumm December 2022
A new book entitled A Celebration of Handweaving and Colour: Weaving Drafts and Woven Samples from the Library of Francesca Overend, by Jean Down and Sheila Singhal, is now available from the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum (MVTM) for $35 (tax included, shipping extra). All proceeds will be donated to the Museum with thanks to Down and Singhal, friends of Francesca Overend (1934–2019). Born in Romania, Overend was a dedicated civil servant whose travels greatly influenced her innovative weav......
Perth’s Charm Sure to Get You in the Holiday Spirit - theHumm December 2022
As the flurries begin to fly, Perth’s charming town transforms into a scene from a snow globe — with twinkling lights, smiling faces and the sound of Christmas carols.
A number of events are taking place throughout the month of December, ranging from carefully-curated craft markets to fireworks displays and sightings of Santa’s elves. The holiday spirit is sure to surround you as you enjoy some heartwarming, family-friendly fun.
Stroll the streets and enjoy the old-world charm of Perth’s do......
Make-A-Wish Helps Ottawa Valley Kids - theHumm December 2022
By Kris Riendeau
Darlene Bennett moved to the Almonte/Carp area five years ago, and recently reached out to theHumm to see if we would help promote Make-A-Wish Canada. We thought that the holidays were the perfect time to get people thinking about helping others, so we contacted Darlene to find out more about this very special charity.
theHumm: In a nutshell, what does Make-A-Wish Canada do for kids, and who does it serve?
Darlene Bennett: Make-A-Wish grants life-changing wishes for children with critical ......
Moonlight & Mistletoe Market Night in Arnprior - theHumm December 2022
By — Submitted the Greater Arnprior Chamber of Commerce
The Greater Arnprior Chamber of Commerce will present the Moonlight & Mistletoe Market, taking place in downtown Arnprior on Thursday, December 15 beginning at 4pm. The event will feature Christmas caroling by the Arnprior Community Theatre, visits with Santa Claus, late-night shopping, gift wrapping at ChrisTina Studio in support of the Arnprior Foodbank, and so much more.
The Greater Arnprior Chamber of Commerce is proud to bring Moonlight & Mistletoe Market to the community for ......
Fabulous Artist for Hire! - theHumm December 2022
By Kris Riendeau
Colleen Gray, the wonderful local artist who founded and runs Art For Aid artforaid.ca , has started a new venture to help her put some funds in the bank so she can continue to work with that organization as a full-time volunteer. She is now hiring herself out for AGM, corporate and business events to do live painting, where the finished piece can be auctioned or won by draw.
Having profiled Colleen in our August 2020 issue, th......
The Faces of Almonte Country Haven - theHumm December 2022
During what seems like ages ago when communities were in lockdown, many people in our community were hit by Covid-19 with devastating consequences, while others sought to help members who were most vulnerable and at-risk. Residents came together to meet needs — making masks, delivering groceries, and providing some reprieve through companionship, albeit distanced.
Covid is still with us, but we can come together physically now to reflect on 2020 and pay respec......
Season’s Greetings from MMLT - theHumm December 2022
As 2022 comes to a close, the staff and directors at Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (MMLT) want to personally thank everyone for your support. Whether you came out to enjoy a walk at one of our properties, supported us with a financial contribution, or participated in one of our organized events, you helped us to protect and steward land in this unique and beautiful region of Ontario.
Land trusts like MMLT have never played such a critical role for the future of our planet as they do right now. As......
The Blakeney Project: Report for Year Two - theHumm December 2022
By David Hinks
Many in our community are aware of The Blakeney Project of the Lanark County Food Bank (The Hunger Stop) as a result of walking, cycling or driving past our two-acre field that fronts on Blakeney Road on the east side of Blakeney. We have now completed our second full year of operation and are quite excited about developments this year — we were able to harvest over 10,000 pounds of fresh produce for Food Bank clients and we were able to connect in new ways with the community through the d......
Food Bank Fundraiserby EXIT Realty - theHumm December 2022
For many people, the holidays inspire feelings of charity and good will. As needs are also high during that time of year, Wendy Ronberg, Broker Owner of EXIT Realty Vision Brokerage in Carleton Place, and the agents of the brokerage are once again looking to raise money for the Lanark County Food Bank.
Last year EXIT Realty Vision was honoured to be able to partner with The Hunger Stop – Lanark County Food Bank. This charity has been under enormous strain over the last few y......
Christmas Art and Craft Show - theHumm December 2022
The S.M.art Gallery in Carleton Place is excited to invite you all to gather around the electric fireplace and celebrate the season with local artists, fine food and glasses full of good spirit.
Come and see the wonderful variety of creative handmade works of art! The show runs from December 2-4 and 9-11 at 50 Bennett Street, Unit 1. Visit sarahmoffat.com for times and details.
Holiday Pop-up Art Sale - theHumm December 2022
Three studios in the Perth Autumn Studio Tour family will open their doors on Saturday, December 3 for a Holiday Pop-up Sale.
Celebrate and support your local makers this holiday by giving gifts that will nourish the soul and that are made by someone you actually know and/or interact with! Bring relationship back to exchange!
From east to west, you can visit Cordwood Studio (Zoë Lianga) with guest Bel Angeles. Find feltwork, preserves, frozen meals and paintings. It’s located at 590 Brook......
Museum to Host Jolly Holiday Happenings - theHumm December 2022
The Smiths Falls Heritage House Museum invites you to take in the sights and sounds of the holidays from December 1–18 at 11 Old Slys Road.
The museum will be taking part in the Merry & Bright program this year, and has two boxes available for purchase. Box 1 is $40 and is called the Local Histories Box, which includes: a hot chocolate bomb from the Rideau Candy Shoppe, a local history book (contact the museum for options), one museum membership, a custom museum sticker a......
dOMe Retreat — Wait ’til You Hear This! - theHumm December 2022
By Kris Riendeau
Have you ever heard someone describing visual art on the radio and thought “if only I could see what they are raving about”? As you read this article, please bear in mind that the experience described here truly needs to be heard to be appreciated. I’m going to do my best, but in this case a sonorously reverberating gong is worth a thousand words.
In mid-November, my husband Rob and I were in-between performance weekends for our show Sketchy Santa and were ramping up for the December issue of the......
Happy Wanderers: Evening Grosbeaks - theHumm December 2022
By Lise Balthazar
In the early 19th century, English colonizers discovered a beautiful bird in the foothills of the Rockies. Under the mistaken impression that the bird would only make an appearance after sunset, they called it evening grosbeak. However, the bird’s name in French — “gros-bec errant” — is much more accurate.
The French term “errant” means “wandering”, which perfectly describes this bird’s unpredictable migratory movements. In fact, rather than being actual migrations, those movements are essentially ......
It’s Back Already? - theHumm December 2022
By Glenda Jones
When did this happen? Only last week I was getting out the garden tools, revving up the mower and planting some annuals. And now you’re telling me I have to get out the winter gear? Suddenly, it’s colder than… well, you know. I’m wrapping myself in strings of outdoor lights, and cursing the timer that turns the lights on in the day and off at dusk. On the decent November day when I could have done this in comfort, we were tooling around the countryside admiring the fall colour.
Halloween came and ......
Bill 23: More Strain on the Vulnerable and Our Natural World! - theHumm December 2022
By Chandler Swain
As we were going to press, the provincial government was trying to rush through Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act.
No doubt, we are in a housing crisis: the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Lanark County is $1,796 a month; in 2022, the average sale price of a home in the County was $736,424. Most likely, you know someone who is in a precarious housing situation.
So “More Homes Built Faster” sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, the Bill is mis-named. It will not provide for more affordable housing; it will not meet the housing needs of our aging popu......
Rural Women Face Higher Risk of Abuse, so What Now Lanark County? - theHumm December 2022
By Fern Martin
More than 40 years ago, three shelters for women and children fleeing abuse opened in Lanark and Renfrew Counties: Lanark County Interval House in Carleton Place, The Bernadette McCann House in Pembroke, and Avoca House in Eganville, which closed in 1996 after Ontario’s Ministry of Community & Social Services removed funding. These shelters have saved many lives, but the issue of male violence against women has not abated. In fact, the reverse is happening.
8th Anniversary Show Continues in Almonte - theHumm December 2022
Sivarulrasa Gallery’s 8th Anniversary Show continues in Almonte until December 30. It’s the Gallery’s largest show of the year, featuring sculpture, paintings, drawings, photography and mixed media works in many sizes and price points, by local artists as well as those from Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia.
Among the 28 Canadian creators featured in the show are five based in Almonte. “We are fortunate to ......
School of Hard Knocks Latest Project by Andy Simpson and Gerry Madden - theHumm December 2022
By Kris Riendeau
Carleton Place’s Andy Simpson has been making music for at least as long as theHumm has been publishing. Over the years we have covered Andy’s ambitious undertakings and enjoyed seeing him perform on local community theatre stages. During the pandemic, Andy kept busy working on another new project his musical partner Gerry Madden — this one entitled School of Hard Knocks. We contacted Andy to find out more about his plans for this fifth album.
theHumm: Can you give our readers an overview of this con......
Orkney — An Interview with Maggie Toner - theHumm December 2022
By John Pigeau
A good book is a good book, says Maggie Toner — no matter the publisher.
Maggie is the author of Orkney, a novel about four souls who develop and eventually come to the full essence of who they are.
“That sounds goofy,” she says, “but basically I have told the story of four people and their bonds to one another, using reincarnation as the mechanism of the story and first-party stream of consciousness to narrate it.”
The back flap synopsis reads: “Four......
Lanark County Routes Sequel Set for 2023 - theHumm December 2022
By Rose Mary Sarsfield
Lanark County Genealogical Society (LCGS) continues to celebrate our farming community and the pioneers who cleared the trees and rocks, built their homes and planted crops around the stumps. Our two-volume set entitled Lanark County Routes, East and Lanark County Routes West was a remarkable success when it was published last year.
We tapped into the history recorded in the local Tweedsmuir History books and collaborated with several of the present farmers in the County to tell the stories.
An Exceptional Library Fundraiser - theHumm December 2022
An exhibition entitled EXCEPTIONAL is scheduled to run at the Mississippi Mills Public Library — Almonte Branch from December 3–30. Featuring the works of over a dozen exceptionally talented loca......
Mar 5 - Dec 17 Eric Uren & Meghan Balogh
Mar 7 - 31 Mississippi Station
Mar 23 Piano Bar w/Benni Vander
Mar 23 MMLT Howard Clifford & AGM
Mar 24 BOTR: David Gogo
Mar 25 Mississippi Station
Mar 25 Folkus: Vicki Brittle / Brock Zeman
Mar 30 Mattie Leon
Mar 31 Gerald McGrath
Apr 1 Kobo Town Dinner & Show
- Vaz Zastera — Glass Art by The Wonderful Wizard of Vaz
- The 39 Steps It’s a Comedy… It’s a Thriller… It’s Super Theatre!
- River Life — Botanical Reflections An Exhibit by Linda Hamilton
- Examining the First Rough Drafts of History
- Union Hall’s Famous Pancake Breakfast
- Imagining aSafer Community Women’s Conference Coming to Almonte
- Digging Deep in the Story Mines Folkus presents The Gravel Project with Vicki Brittle & Brock Zeman
- Celebrate at Fulton’s!
- Backyard Beauties for MMLT
- Kate Weekes and Christine Graves Double Album Release Concert at Maberly Hall