A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Chatsworth Community News Letters

With the long ago demise of local community newspapers and the ensuing difficulty of spreading the news of community events and news I have been pleased to see a couple of quarterly community newsletters spring up. Voices In Print put out by Chatsworth Taxpayers For a Safe and Healthy Environment has been going for a couple of years now and features a variety of views and information from across our township. The most recent edition may be viewed here thanks to Trevor Falks efforts at Shining a Light on Chatsworth blog, for more information contact printvoices@gmail.com .

The second more recent newsletter that I have become aware of is the Desboro Community Newsletter which is focused upon the Desboro area in general and the Community Center and Arena more particularly, they can be contacted at desboronewsletter@gmail.com. I am not aware of any on line copies of this newsletter at this time. The Township of Chatsworth's annual 'newsletter' may be found here.

My thanks go out to these folks who are trying to keep us all in touch with what is going on, keep up the good work! Unfortunately such efforts are largely a one way street with the newsletters informing us of stuff happening but permitting only limited feedback from the rural residents unless they have an opportunity to meet with other of the same mind at some community event. In my view small rural community’s such as ours need more two way communication, brainstorming ideas to keep our businesses and villages thriving and viable, finding ways to provide local employment for our youth and their families.

I have long thought that one such way to enable such an open discussion about such ideas, as well as provide an additional way to promote local events would be an Online Community Forum where anyone can post their events, ideas or concerns and others from the Chatsworth area can respond with offers of help, better ideas and alternative points of view. Despite promoting such a forum here on my blog, through the W.I. Rural Voices initiative a couple of years ago, and more recently with some of the Chatsworth Taxpayers For a Safe and Healthy Environment members I have yet to see any great enthusiasm for such a forum despite my offers to build and initially moderate such an on line communication tool.

In this particular case I have learned through long experience it is NOT a case of 'build it and they will come', in another such place which I moderate that has a membership of over 100 no one seems interested in talking about that organizations problems and future. It is the lack of conversations that is self defeating, successful and active forums are those where members are regularly posting information and ideas and responding to same. Given the above to start such a forum, which I believe would be a great asset to our area, we need half a dozen people or more who can commit to doing just that in order to get those conversations started.

If you are a member of a local club, group or organization with information to share, an individual with views about our local environment, township services, council decisions and the like, or just have a bird or flower sighting and gardening ideas to share then perhaps this idea is for you.

Lets talk about it. Email me via the 'contact' link in the sidebar or use the blog comment utility below.

For those unsure as to exactly what a “forum” looks like or how it works here is a link to one active forum in Ontario this one about Lake Nipissing

Monday, August 8, 2016

Mud Puppies

As regular readers will know we try and maintain our 33 acres of grey county mixed bush in a sustainable manner and operate under a “Managed Forest Plan”, we keep lists of forest flowers, ferns, trees, shrubs, birds and animals we see on our property and try to learn a little about each new species we see. It is possible to know all that we have on this diverse hideaway, we do not list the butterfly’s, beetles and insect 'pests' that some years stress our variety of trees, the pine budworm, the forest tent caterpillar, the pine sawyer, etc etc. Nor do we track the snakes, frogs and other reptiles on our property, this does not mean that we do not take note of such encounters. Each and every new 'find' is exciting and important to us!

This week we are pleased to have our grandaughter visiting and along with her mother (our nature loving daughter) she was exploring around our small (6 x 8) man made pond in our visitor woodland 'gardens'. This is simply a semi- wild area close to the house to give folks who are unable or unwilling to take a hike a glimpse of what can be seen if you walk the extensive trails back in the bush area, but hardly a 'wild' area. We were really please to have our granddaughter come back with half a dozen newly hatched Mud Puppy’s scooped from said pond. My regime of letting the leaves from the trees that shadow the entire area accumulate in the pond each fall and rot down each winter seems to have paid off. Sure we do have to scoop a few wheelbarrows full off the bottom each spring or it would soon become totally full, but we always leave a good layer of sediment on the bottom for the frogs that help keep the mosquito larva in control.

The confirmation of this came when in looking up details on 'mud puppies' we learned that they do not normally travel more than a few hundred feet from water and take 3 or 4 tears to 'mature' (and will eventually grow to 12 or 14 inches) but will then lay several hundred eggs. It seems that despite the little pond being a 1000' feet or more from the next closest water somehow a mature Salamander (Mud puppies are a particular species of Salamanders who only exist in this small area of north America it seems) has found its way here and found my man made pond to its liking. The pond does not look particularly 'pretty' to those who want a 'manicured look' but obviously it looks OK to natures creatures ...... and that to us is far more important to us than an urban humans 'approval'!