Letters – Our Readers Write: Spring 2020

Letters published in the Spring 2020 edition of In The Hills magazine.

March 24, 2020 | Letters, Our Readers Write

Consider animal welfare again

With respect to the photo on the cover of the fall issue [re: “Rural Road Trip: A Preview of Dufferin Farm Tour”], Lorraine Sala-Schultz wrote in Letters [winter’19] that the photo of a Holstein calf with ear tags is “no longer normal.” I would be most interested to better understand the letter writer’s qualifications for determining the normality of the processes she deplores.

Ms. Sala-Schultz begs us to consider treating cows like dogs, as both are “sentient beings,” saying that “if you had put a picture of a dog with these tags to be used as a commodity, there would be a public outpour of injustice.”

It seems to have escaped her notice that dogs are, in fact, subject to a number of processes, such as selective breeding, microchipping, tattooing, and neutering or spaying. Rather than deplorable, these activities are hallmarks of responsible pet ownership. Other more controversial procedures, such as tail docking and ear shaping, do not seem to be of concern to her, as she holds up dogs as the species by which we must measure the care of all others. It is ironic that she criticizes farmers for using the same type of responsible ownership practices for their animals as dog owners do for theirs.

The writer lumps all agricultural practices together as an “environmental disaster.” What bunk. She seems to forget not only that agricultural practices vary widely around the globe, but also that every commodity, regardless of how virtuous it may be to its consumers, exacts a cost. The agricultural industries in this country and others that are working to reduce their carbon footprint should be commended for the effort. The writer may do better to sound the alarm about the rising global demand for palm oil, which is rapidly and completely devastating places like Indonesia.

The dialogue should be about how we can all do better in adopting sensible, sustainable practices, regardless of what we choose to consume. I am disappointed that the editor would choose to publish Ms. Sala-Schultz’s letter in a magazine that purports to celebrate and highlight rural living. It does not feel like the way forward.
Tracey Croft, Mulmur

I do appreciate Ms. Sala-Schultz’s comments in Letters [winter’19] about smoking on airplanes and in restaurants, yet I cannot see the connection to animal husbandry practices in Dufferin County or in Ontario.

We care for 120 cows and 50 head of horses in Mulmur right along the escarpment, and what they contribute to the well-being of the ecosystem, soil health and biodiversity is only part of the husbandry equation. Their ability to digest cellulose, grass grown using solar energy and rain water, and convert that into protein or milk is truly amazing. By having manure available, we do not need to use commercial fertilizers or any herbicides to grow what they eat. We consider all our green land, pasture and hayfields as a water filter and carbon sink helping to offset climate change.

Tagging calves is important for identification purposes and required by law for traceability. It is no worse for them than for our human babies to be vaccinated. I invite Ms. Sala-Schultz to reach out to us via our website (pvrbeef.ca), and I warmly invite her to arrange to visit us because there is always more to the story. When you visit local farms and ranches, you get to know the whole food story. That is one reason the Dufferin Farm Tour is so well regarded.
Carl Cosack, Peace Valley Ranch Ltd., Honeywood

The home glows from within in this rear view of the outdoor entertaining area. Photo by Rosemary Hasner / Black Dog Creative Arts.

The home glows from within in this rear view of the outdoor entertaining area. Photo by Rosemary Hasner / Black Dog Creative Arts.

A Magical place

I picked up the magazine today at my store – just wow! The photos are truly wonderful, but more than that, the story “Settled in Mono” [winter’19] was so very much exactly how we feel about this magical place we get to call home. Writer Tralee Pearce really has a knack for picking out the stuff that counts!

Thank you so much for showcasing our little piece of heaven!
Deb & Morley Shortill, Mono

Andrea Barbuto of Wild Culture Ferments hand mixes a batch of sauerkraut in the commercial kitchen at Riverdale Farm and Forest in Inglewood. Photo by Pete Paterson.

Andrea Barbuto of Wild Culture Ferments hand mixes a batch of sauerkraut in the commercial kitchen at Riverdale Farm and Forest in Inglewood. Photo by Pete Paterson.

Sold out

Just read “Brine Dining” [winter’19]! It’s so beautifully written.

Every single person at the Orangeville Winter Market told me they read about me in In The Hills. They are regulars at the market who never noticed me before. I was sold out by noon! That has never happened at that market. Thank you so, so much.
Andrea Barbuto, Wild Culture Ferments, Inglewood

Hearts in the Hills

I’m three-quarters of the way through the winter issue of In The Hills and feeling nostalgic for all the places in Dufferin and surroundings that my husband and I know so well. Now we’ll have to apply as much curiosity to the east side of the province as we did during our 20 years there (10 in Orangeville followed by 10 in Tottenham). We will miss the spring gardens we established, but my husband has lovingly reminded me that we can visit the Tulip Festival and the Experimental Farm for floral shots of colour. In the meantime, the snow is getting deeper. I think it’s going to be a long one.

Our newly built, and not yet landscaped, home is literally within a stone’s throw of the Ottawa River and a ferry ride away from the Gatineau Hills. They will do when we’re missing Caledon’s rolling hills.

I taught at Macville Public School for 20 years and had a variety of drives to school, especially after we moved to Tottenham. It was great to see Mary Balinov featured as a local hero. Her children were my students: Kristian was in my Grade 4 class and Diana was ever-present. Lovely memories – and a remarkable family.
Lorraine Lapp, Rockland

I love your website, as Orangeville was my home for 20 years after my birth in 1947. A lot of family memories of public and high school. I have lived on the West Coast in Vancouver for many years. Still, Orangeville is always in my heart.
Alan Huston, Vancouver

Music to our ears

I’ve been dabbling in the winter issue of In The Hills since it arrived. This morning, I sat down at the end of the kitchen table, and started at the beginning and finished at the end – turning each page, reading some articles in depth and others cursorily, but each page dealt with.

The message in the Editor’s Desk [“Hope Springs Eternal”] struck perfectly the tone of our times.

Given the year-end and seasonal timing, the winter issue is rich, rich, rich in every way. We in these hills live with an embarrassment of riches.

The fabric of our land and its peoples is good and strong and with conscious and vigilant tending, we’ll keep the warp and weft colourful, vibrant and enduring.

Keep up the good work.
Sheilagh Crandall, Caledon

I always enjoy reading Dan Needles’ humorous and enlightening tales in Fence Posts (my first go-to read), but Shelagh Armstrong’s delightful and charming illustrations are the icing on the cake.
Anita Foley, Whitby


As a resident of Mulmur Township, I’ve been reading your small magazine for over 10 years and am continually surprised by how well it is written and laid out, and how often there are topics of interest to me. Keep up the excellent work!
Biff Matthews, Mulmur

Thank you so much for this wonderful, informative magazine that is so full of heart. I read the entire magazine and enjoy the diversity of the articles, and the excellent information they contain. Stellar publication.
Veronica Dunn


In the photo of the Hulse family in “Ice, Rocks & Brooms” [winter’19], the name of McKenna Hulse was inadvertently omitted from the caption. McKenna is pictured on the far right.

In “The Year in Books” [winter’19], Orangeville was incorrectly identified as the home of writer Ron McCormack. The author of The Secrets of Mudge Bay lives in Bolton.

Online In The Hills

We welcome your comments! For more commentary from our readers, or to add your own thoughts on any of the stories, please add a comment at the bottom of any article. You can also send your letters by e-mail to [email protected] or use our handy submission form. Please include your name, address and contact information. In the Hills reserves the right to edit letters for publication.

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Dufferin Farm Tour

Sep 16, 2019 | James Matthews | Farming

Dufferin Farm Tour offers a behind-the-scenes peek at agricultural life in the county.

The entrance to the Shortills’ cozy new home on a chilly winter night. The house was built by Orangeville’s Dalerose Homes. Photo by Rosemary Hasner / Black Dog Creative Arts.

At Home with Deborah Shortill of Hannah’s

Nov 22, 2019 | Tralee Pearce | At Home in the Hills

How the retail maven and her husband, Morley, nestled their new dream home into the rolling Mono landscape.

Brine Dining with Sauerkraut

Nov 22, 2019 | Janice Quirt | Food

Sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi and other tangy fermented foods have gone from traditional to trendy.

The Year in Books: 2019

Nov 22, 2019 | Tracey Fockler | Arts

Our annual review of new books by local authors & illustrators.

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