Letters – Our readers write: Summer 2017

Letters published in the Summer 2017 edition of In The Hills magazine.

June 21, 2017 | | Letters, Our Readers Write

Celebrating Nature

Thank you to Don Scallen for his article on alternatives to grass [“8 Ways to Kick Your Grass Habit” spring ’17]. I cannot tell you how happy I was to read it. It reminded me of growing up in Hungary where I was lucky to learn the love of growing fruits and vegetables from my parents. Like his old Polish neighbour, my parents have always utilized their small piece of land to grow as much food as possible.

I live in Mulmur where I am surrounded by acres of manicured lawns, and it is hard to understand this because I see so much land wasted, just like how we waste food we buy in supermarkets. I am thrilled to be able to try growing some vegetables, and I am definitely willing to try a few ideas you mentioned to get rid of at least some of the useless grass.

It would be great to get in touch with locals who think the same and want to share their experience/views, stories, seeds and produce to share/exchange.
Gabor, Mulmur

What do you recommend as a replacement for grass to allow children to play – something low growing and maintenance free. Thanks for any advice.
Joan Vanduzer, Mulmur 

Don Scallen replies: In my article, I don’t suggest that we should get rid of grass entirely. It does have its place and one function it serves well is providing space for children to play games. An option for you could be a tough, low-growing drought-resistant lawn that allegedly needs very little maintenance. See the “ecolawn” option offered by a landscaping firm in Meaford called Ecocultures. Another option is a thyme lawn. A friend of mine in Mono has one but she does need to weed grass out of it. And I don’t know how well it would stand up to heavy traffic.

Thank you so much to Don Scallen for his continuing articles on our local and natural surroundings. I remember wondering so many years ago, after he had covered mammals, birds and fish, what could possibly be left. He continues to show your readers there are no limits to what we can learn about the bounty in our own hills.

I read about “Vernal Pools” [spring ’17] while waiting for a doctor’s appointment recently, and looked around the waiting room wishing I could announce proudly to those present that I had worked with Don Scallen. A different audience, sure, but still teaching science.
Murray Elliot

Doris Porter’s War Story

I have had the pleasure to have known Doris (Evans) Porter since 1958 [“Doris Porter Goes to War” spring ’17]. She is one amazing lady! Always a smile, a happy face and a great story or two to tell. Doris can make the treasurer’s report of the Albion Bolton Historical Society very humorous and entertaining. Wishing her good health, more stories and lots more laughs!
Anna Sheardown, Bolton 

Liz and George Knowles have lived and gardened in Mono since 1976. Photo by Rosemary Hasner / Black Dog Creative Arts.

Liz and George Knowles have lived and gardened in Mono since 1976. Photo by Rosemary Hasner / Black Dog Creative Arts.

Botanical Reflections

Thank you for the delightful piece on my Plantswoman, Liz Knowles [“A Botany of Desire” spring ’17], on the motivation that drives her creativity and on the garden and its history. Editorial, photos and layout are wonderful – all complementary and coherent. Tralee Pearce is a delightful researcher and writes with a fluent mixture of facts and anecdotes, and grasped – somehow – the curious mixture of exploration, work and fun that describes what we do.

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  • It makes me see the Virginia Woolf quotation about reading that “one is not tethered to a single mind, but can put on briefly for a few minutes the bodies and minds of others” in a different way, that someone else can describe things that are intimate in one’s own life and reveal them as somehow new and different. So thank you for that and to photographer Rosemary Hasner for her hard work and creative eye.
    George Knowles, Mono

    Warm and Fuzzy

    Bethany Lee, you read my mind! [“Headwaters Nest: Savouring the Simple Things” spring ’17] This year I too have embraced hygge, and not because CityLine told me to! I was so happy to learn that there is a word for what I can finally identify with as “my style.”

    To me it has meant surrounding myself with natural materials, fibres and foods, not painting the woodwork, walking in the woods, having the neighbours over more often for no-fuss potlucks with wine and kitchen experiments, playing music unplugged, wearing wool and, yes, board games and 1,000-piece puzzles over the holidays. It has also seen us spending more time in a quiet home, in front of the fire, cuddling on the couch, ignoring the news. Hygge is heavenly! Gezelligheid is a new one on me. I’ll have to work on that.

    And, oh, the wool! I’ve been rediscovering my knitting needles too, as friends have babies all around me. I’m also teaching my girls to knit and we are learning to crochet together. They love it and made a lot of people happy with handmade gifts this Christmas. We have amassed an overly ambitious (okay, slightly embarrassing) collection of yarns. Now I guess we’ll get to work for Hats On Dufferin.

    Thanks for another beautiful article! Made me feel all warm and fuzzy.
    Jennifer Payne, Mono

    More Puzzling Solutions

    I had fun doing the “Six-Letter Word Hunt” in the spring edition [“A Puzzling Conclusion”]. I came up with several common words derived from “Orangeville” that were missed. They are goalie, gravel, grille, linear, linger, longer, nailer, raving and reveal.

    Less common words such as envier, graven, leaven and onager, to name a few, are valid words but not within the “everyday” usage guidelines.
    Keith Davies, Orangeville

    p.s. Thought of four more during breakfast: regain, gainer, vainer, reline. Orangeville really does have lots of potential!

    Hillsburgh: Grills and shrill.
    Graham Bowden

    I have a third answer for the number of seconds in a year and leap year [“Another Puzzle on the Barber’s Mirror”]. If there are three meals a day, you could have seconds at any of them, so there would be 1095 or 1098 opportunities for seconds.
    Elaine Capes, Mono

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