|February 2007||Newsletter Archive|
by Nancy Bremner
Notes on Pinawa CDC
The Strategic Goals and the assigned budget are now in the last readings and adjustments. The first meeting in March will have the Pinawa CDC Board reviewing both documents and either making further adjustments or approving my work plan and the budget for our programs.
I can hardly contain myself as we are on the final legs of the making of the first time Pinawa Residential/Tourism Guide. The link gives you a preview of the front cover. Many businesses supported the guide by taking out a variety of ads and there are quite a few in the Business Directory. What is unique about this guide is that not only is there information on our attractions which will appeal to visitors but also information on the town itself such as the siren that goes off at 6:00 pm on Monday evening and why you should check Channel 12 regularly. There hasn't been a directory since 1998 and I have never seen information Pinawa residents need in booklet form. All the households in Pinawa and Awanipark will be receiving a guide in their mailboxes.
We had 3 volunteers from the Pinawa Chamber read the first drafts for content and they provided comments or suggestions that were needed to improve the booklet. Thanks go to Barrie Burnett, Vince Lopata, and Donna Warenko for their valuable contributions. The Pinawa Photography Club also gave us a CD with images for the guide. I haven't had a chance to see what they have provided so I am looking forward to previewing the printing drafts in early March.
As you can tell the newsletter is late but it is jam packed with articles that should last you until April. Dare I mention our big event on February 25th since it has been so well covered elsewhere? You will find articles and photos throughout this newsletter. It was certainly a great day for all those who attended and we would like to thank young and old alike (and even some doggies) for making it a special day for Pinawa.
The women's extravaganza on March 2nd was an awesome success. There were approximately 330 women who enjoyed the entertainment, fashion shows, the martini bar, food, and a general all around congenial atmosphere.
Notes on Nature
Well the gall! Which gall? Oooh that one...
Shaun (Thompson Designs), Pat (Pinawa CDC admin person) and myself were going through some photographs for the guide that I was speaking about in the Notes on Work. Shaun had a neat photo of a gall and the question arose what was it? I offhandedly remarked "it was a gall" not realizing that they didn't know what I was speaking about. I then went into an interpretive dialogue on what a gall was.
This month's Nature Notes will feature a small section on galls. Galls are created when an insect lays an egg into the growing tissue of a plant. It can either be a stem, leaf, or terminal bud. The plant is then tricked into producing a swelling which is actually accelerated growth creating a "room" for the insect larvae. As the larvae grows it eats the tissue inside the gall until it has completed its development. Interestingly enough just this past week I saw 3 galls that had been pecked until the bird found the food waiting within. One gall had about five pecks and the sound that the gall made must have let the bird know there wasn't any food in the gall. Upon closer inspection I saw the old exit hole.
Last month I wrote about trees and how they were at the mercy of insects and this is a more visual sign of an infestation that rarely does harm to the plant. Not only trees but other herbaceous plants can be victims of insect causing galls. The only gall that I am aware of that will kill a plant is the root gall that attacks rose shrubs although I am sure a thorough combing through the internet will bring significant results of killing galls of plants in different climates.
In the winter galls are very noticeable as all leaves are gone exposing the branches. Some galls are a result of aphids infecting the flowers. You can often see these in ash trees. Galls from oak and ash are harvested for their tannin which is used in hemorrhoid ointments.
Galls on Bur Oak caused by Disholcaspis spongiosa a cynipid wasp.
Now from a story on galls to an X-file in nature's weird file. January photos featured a cute little squirrel eating at my feeder. We noticed that it had difficulty eating and to my horror on Valentine's day he showed up with an elongated tooth and a huge bump on his nose. Heaven only knows if he is going to survive but he really enjoys the crushed peanuts. The first photo shows his swollen left side and his upper incisor curled outside his face. The second photo shows that he has scratched or picked the bump and it looks like it is healing but the tooth still remains the same (look closely behind the whiskers). You can tell he really has a dental problem when you look at him face on.
How would you like a belated Valentine's gift? I received this email from the Canadian Wildlife Federation for a free download of a variety of wildlife screensavers.
I haven't seen any snowfleas as it has been just to cold. I almost forgot to add; this morning I was sideswiped by a frightened grouse who exploded out of the snow and went between a tree and myself scaring the heck out of all of us!
By the time you receive another newsletter I expect to see a lot of spring signs to say that spring is on its way. Until next time get out and enjoy the fresh air and take that camera - we love to receive your pictures.
Last month I gave some gardening tips and here are a few more for your vegetable garden. It is very important to rotate your garden to keep the soil free from pests taking over your garden such as onion maggots. For some reason and it could have to do with some of the hints I shared last month; some plants grow well together while other plants actually hinder each other's growth.
I notice I have planted enemies together in my own garden and that explains the poor growth but I have planted my squash and pumpkins in a flax lasagna garden where I grew a very healthy crop of potatoes several years in a row. Some were a pound each. Maybe the reason they were compatible was because of the compost rich soil. Nevertheless it always pays one to keep good garden records.
I have attached this photo as a reminder to take out your photos and see what you can do to improve your flower gardens. I had a conversation with a fellow gardener and they were wondering why certain easy bloomers such as Bachelor Buttons (Cornflowers or Centaurea cyanus) and poppies didn't bloom. I suggested that it could be a lack of sun. Most of the annuals that you grow like hot or at least sunny spots in your garden. Poppies are plants that appreciate full sun. A Celandine poppy is the only poppy that likes shaded areas with poor soil.
The garden above would surprise anyone when they find out that it is very dry, (under the drip shadow of the tree) and very hot for 6 hours of the day. Three feet and to the left of the picture it isn't as dry and has a more shady location. Finding the correct plants for this area is challenging. Next month I will write on plants and their locations.
But before I go I'd like to give you a tip or two about growing short seasoned flowers. Do not succumb to the desire to start your seedlings too earlyas the seedlings will be up before the warm weather. You may then have potted them up once but you try and leave them in the same little pot without fertilizer and less water to slow them down. You now have succeeded in permanently stunting your plants and when they are finally set outside the growth suddenly stops.
Raise your hands if you have bought that bargain basement plant and set it out in the garden and it just sits there in a frumpy mood and you never even get one flower from it. The poor thing was neglected, starved, and had its growth halted and you thought you had gotten such a deal. You would've been better off to buy a packet of seeds and sown them in the garden as those seedlings will have done much better than the plant you bought. The caution above is true for annuals that mature in six to eight weeks but it isn't true for flowers such as petunias that require up to three months.
Flower seeds need to be sown thinly and then plan to pot them up once or twice before moving them out into your coldframe and then garden. Most seeds don't require being sown deeper than two to three times their diameter, very fine seeds should be pressed into a moist growing medium.
The Easter Lily that was mentioned last month now has one bud on the oldest bulb in the pot and should be blooming in about 2 weeks. A smaller Amaryllis is ready to bloom and the violets are doing really well under the grow lights. To our continuing delight Helen's Bird of Paradise continues to bloom with many flowers.