Saturday, August 27, 2016

Seedy Saturdays- Tomato,Tamoto

Tomato. Tamoto.

      Select a sunny location. Set out bedding plants in late spring when the soil temperatures have warmed up, after all the dangerous frost has passed. The soil should be deep fertile and well dug with organic matter. Stick the plants as deep as possible into the soil to create an enhanced root system. follow directions of the chosen variety. 

       Tomato yields can be improved by pouring a tablespoon of Epsom salts in the bottom of the hole ready to receive the plant. Plants can be fertilized with Epsom salts every week. Add additional tablespoons of salts for every foot of height of the tomato plant. Water regularly, as inconsistent soil moisture will cause blossom end rot. 

Credit to: Rodney Horticultural Society. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Remember to Register for the Heritage Farm Show

Heritage Farm Show is September 10 and 11 at Backus-Page House Museum but we need your registrations NOW!!!

NEW: Submit your creations by September 9 at 5pm and win prizes for 1st, 2nd or 3rd place.    
          ___ A fruit pie with recipe
___ 1850s style Minced Meat in a mason jar with recipe
___ Any type of craft or textile art with the theme “Out Standing in Their Field – A Farm Scene”
___ Colouring Page (supplied by THS and Backus-Page House Museum)
___ Vegetables you’ve grown 3 of a kind on stem with leaves
___ Fruit you’ve grown 3 of a kind on stem with leaves
___ Any painting, drawing, or photograph with the theme “Rural Roots”    

See our website for submission form and details.

If you have vintage or antique farm equipment or a classic car, please register using the form on our website.  

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

World War Wednesdays: "In-Flu-Enza": The Spanish Flu Epidemic, 1918-19

     I had a little bird,
its name was Enza.
I opened the window,
and in-flu-enza
-Children's skipping rhyme, 1918

     Some fascinating and tragic elements of the First World War are the devastating events that occurred on the home front during that period. After four long years of unprecedented global devastation, the war ended in 1918 with a raging influenza epidemic which was partly spread by soldiers returning home. Ultimately, at least 20 million people around the world succumbed to the disease, including an estimated 50,000 Canadians. 

     Uniquely lethal in its tendency to attack young, healthy bodies, the Spanish Flu was spread through bodily fluids and moved quickly through the population. It manifested itself through fatigue and cough but quickly escalated its attack, creating mucous build-up in the lungs that was impossible to expel. Victims of the disease could be dead within days of contracting the illness.

     The Flu came in three waves: the first in the spring of 1918, the second (and most lethal) in late August, and the third and final during the winter of 1918-1919. Contrary to its name, it did not originate in Spain at all. Wartime censorship meant that combatant armies did not release any information about the flu in an attempt to maintain civilian morale. Since Spain was a neutral party during the war, it had no reason to impose censorship, leaving Spanish newspapers free to report on infected citizens. As a result, Spain was tagged as being the origins of the virus. 

"The 1918 has gone: a year momentous as the termination of the most cruel war in the annals of the human race; a year which marked, the end at least for a time, of man's destruction of man; unfortunately a year in which developed a most fatal infectious disease causing the death of hundreds of thousands of human beings. Medical science for four and one-half years devoted itself to putting men on the firing line and keeping them there. Now it must turn with its whole might to combating the greatest enemy of all--infectious disease," (12/28/1918).

     Canada's flu dead included soldiers who had survived the fighting in Europe only to succumb to the disease upon their return to Canada. In addition, thousands of family members who welcomed them home also perished soon after their arrival. This horrible reality hit close to home in Dunwich Township with the death of returned soldier Harry Bateman Blue of Iona Station in January 1919, He is the only confirmed local soldier who succumbed to the virus according to my database and research this past spring. 
     In addition to the widespread fatalities, the epidemic caused severe social and economic disruption. Children were orphaned, many families found themselves without their chief wage earner, and armies on both sides of the war were temporarily debilitated. Businesses lost profits from both a  lack of demand for their products and a reduced workforce. In an attempt to halt the spread of the disease, municipal governments closed all services except those necessary, and provinces enacted laws regarding quarantine and enforced the wearing of masks in public. Although the Canadian population happily accepted these restrictions, it opposed the federal government's request that victory celebrations be postponed until December 1. 

     Although decreasingly virulent, the Spanish Influenza strain remained active in Canada until the mid-1920s. While crippling in the majority of its immediate effects, the epidemic is credited with leading to the establishment of the federal Department of Health in 1919. In addition, since pneumonia contracted by a patient who was weakened by influenza became a major cause of death, the discovery of penicillin greatly weakened the impact. 

Timeline of the Spread of Flu and Movement of Soldiers:
The Limits of Necessity: Public Health, Dissent, and the War Effort during the 1918 Influenza Pandemic notes the spread of the virus was connected to the movements of soldiers. This piece provides some great insight on the social climate at the time and the ways in which military efforts defined Canadian life. Some interesting quotes and notes follow.
  • “[Carol Byerly] suggests that military physicians and government officials were caught between their obligation to protect the public health and their duty to prosecute the war effort. According to her analysis, health and war became competing interests.” 
  • The first wave of flu broke out in ranks of Canadian Expeditionary Force in France and Belgium in May 1918,  and sickened Canadian soldiers stationed in England a month later 
  • Infected soldiers sailed for Canada on June 26 on the Araguaya, the last Canadian vessel to ferry wounded soldiers back across the Atlantic until the end of September 
  • Arrived at Halifax harbour on July 7, 23% of its soldier-passengers were infected.
  • ”The second and more deadly wave of the flu first appeared among American soldiers at Camp Devens outside of  Boston on 8 Sept. 1918. By the month’s second week, it had already spread across Massachusetts and into New York State.” 
  • 17 September→ broke out among Polish American recruits at a camp outside of Niagara-on-the-Lake
  • 20 September→ soldiers began reporting sick at St. Jean Military Hospital.
  • “In the midst of this crisis, MacPhail requested her father’s permission to sign on for active VAD service. Now a certified VAD nursing assistant, she argued that the city was “crying out for helpers and being young and strong I feel I ought to” despite the fact that the flu showed "no respect for youth.” 
  • “In this era," Nancy Bristow argues, "there was a presumption that women, whatever their nursing qualifications, would put themselves in harm’s way to fulfill their natural caring role. Certainly, many women came forward to nurse influenza victims, despite the risk to themselves.” 
     Many thanks to the Canadian War Museum, The Canadian Encyclopedia, and the University of Waterloo's Department of Drama page, "Contagion, Pandemics, and Humanity" for the information and images used in this post. 
     Thanks for reading,
Delany (@DLeitchHistory on Twitter)

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Behind The Scenes With Ben - A New Arrival

A New Arrival

There has been a new arrival at Backus-Page House.  We have now grown our staff size from three to five in a matter of four and a half hours.  Our newest employee’s names are Brock and Kim.  They are both every intelligent people even though they don’t have a brain, they’re amazing at doing nothing but just hanging around and doing nothing, and they don’t talk much.  They are Backus-Page House’s newest scarecrows!!!!!!!!!  They also both have every important name.
        Sense Backus-Page House is big into history; both Brock and Kim were named after people who were both important and unique in Canadian history.  Comment blow if you know who their named after and why they are important and/or unique to Canadian history.  
        Find out next week who Brock and Kim are named after.
Brock is named after a British Officer who was born October 6th 1769.  This officer was killed in the war of 1812.
Kim is named after a Canadian Politian who was born March 10th 1947.  This Lady is still alive to this day.

From: Ben

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Seedy Saturday- VEGGIES Part 2



     Basil planted near tomatoes will repel white flies and mosquitoes and will attract some really good pollinators. 

Carrots and Radishes:

      Planting carrot seeds along with radish seeds will help in locating the tiny carrot leaves as radishes sprout earlier and will be harvested first. This procedure assists in the task of thinning the carrots as there will be space left from the harvested radishes. 


      Rosemary planted near carrots will deter carrot flies and ward off the pesky bean Beatles. 

Credit to: Rodney Horticultural Society. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

World War Wednesdays: The Canadians at Hill 70

Canadians take a break in a captured German trench during the Battle of Hill 70 in August 1917. The soldiers on the left are scanning the sky for aircraft, while the soldier in the centre appears to be re-packing his gas respirator into the carrying pouch on his chest. Dust cakes their clothes, helmets, and weapons.
George Metcalf Archival Collection 
CWM 19920085-686
     This month marks yet another 99th anniversary related to the events of the First World War, and one that has not as of yet had any coverage by World War Wednesdays. I thought it would be a fitting tribute to give readers an overview of the events and what they meant for Canadians, while adding in some of the local research I compiled this past spring. 
     The central concept of Hill 70 is that the Canadian Corps attacked the northern France city of Lens in August 1917 in order to relieve pressure on other Allied troops who were fighting in Passchendaele, near Flanders.
     Sir Douglas Haig, commander of the British Expeditionary Force on the Western front, launched a strategic offensive in Flanders, east of Ypres, on 31 July 1917. Known as the infamous Passchendaele campaign, it was marked by intense fighting, heavy rain, and mud. All of these factors combined to result in a diminishing hope for significant breakthrough. In order to divert German reinforcements from the Passchendaele battlefield, Haig ordered attacks further south. One of these, involving the First Army, meant an attack at Lens by the Canadian Corps. 

Canadian soldiers used this ruined house west of Lens to shelter their water tanks. From here, water would be carried forward to soldiers in the trenches. This photo was taken in September 1917, about a month after the battle.
George Metcalf Archival Collection 
CWM 19920085-786
     Haig ordered Strathroy, Ontario's own Sir Arthur Currie, who in June had been placed in command of the Canadian Corps, to launch a frontal attack on the city of Lens. Instead of attacking the heavily-fortified city directly, however, Currie's studies of the land were enough to convince his British superiors that a better plan would be to capture Hill 70, directly to the north. If the significant hill could be taken, the Germans would have no choice but to counterattack. Currie thus planned for artillery and machine guns to smash the German concentrations in order to weaken their hold on the entire sector. 
     The Canadians attacked on 15 August and captured many of their objectives, including the high ground. They were then able to hold their positions despite 21 determined German counterattacks over the next four days. Subsequent Canadian probing attacks against Lens on 21 and 23 August were unsuccessful, but Currie's forces had inflicted severe casualties on the enemy and gained the high ground overlooking the city. 
     Ultimately, over 9,000 Canadians were killed at Hill 70, but an estimated 25,000 Germans were killed or wounded. Currie proved himself as an able and innovative commander, and his Canadian Corps soon moved north to assist Haig and his faltering Passchendaele campaign. 
Canadian troops inspect a captured German gun position near Lens, France in September 1917. Its concrete construction helped protect the defenders from bullet and shrapnel fire.
George Metcalf Archival Collection 
CWM 19930013-964
     On 15 August 2016, the Hill 70 Memorial Project commemorated the 99th anniversary of Canada's "Forgotten Victory" by recreating the photo used as the top of this post (which was taken at Hill 70) in tableau. It was staged in various locations across downtown Ottawa, with a piper leading the way to each spot. The event began at the Drill Hall at 11, and was seen at:
Valiants Gallery at 11:15-11:45
Parliament Hill at Noon to 1 pm
Sparks and Metcalfe at 3.30-4 pm
George Street near the Bay at 5 to 6 pm.
    Local Connections 
     As part of my research for the 100th anniversary of the departure of Elgin's own 91st Battalion, I was able to identify the battles at which some of our local veterans served. I wanted to include a list, with images where possible, of the Dunwich and West Elgin men who are known to have served at Hill 70. In doing so, I recognize that this is only a partial list, and hope that any readers with further information will share any additions to my database. 
William Doolittle, Dutton
William McNernie, Dutton
William Lodge, Iona
Leonard Munn, Dutton (wounded at Hill 70)

Ernest Rycroft, Iona 
Lance Corporal Wesley E. Sloan, Iona 
Leon Russell Auckland, Rodney
David Gill, Rodney
Frank Winfield Jannaway, Rodney
Hilton Day McNally, Rodney
Ross Farnham Peace, Rodney
Earl Russell Peace, Rodney 
George Henry Sayer, Rodney
Reuben Byfield, West Lorne
Roy Erskine, West Lorne
Boyd Erskine, West Lorne
Victor Earl Lemon, West Lorne
John Gyde, West Lorne

  Finally, I'd like to make special mention of the one local soldier who is known to have lost his life at Hill 70, William Harold Jacques. A native of Eagle, he enlisted in October 1915 and served at the Somme and Vimy Ridge with the 70th and 91st Battalions, as well as the 75th French Battalion. He was killed at Hill 70 exactly 99 years before this post was published, on August 17, 1917.

They were young, as we are young,
They served, giving freely of themselves.
To them, we pledge, amid the winds of time,
To carry their torch and never forget.
We will remember them

Special thanks to the Canadian War Museum for information and images, Lost Ottawa, and Elgin County Archives. Thanks for reading,
Delany (@DLeitchHistory on Twitter)

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Behind the Scenes with Ben - The Second Battle for Spicer Trail

The Second Battle for Spicer Trail

It had been a week sense the first attempt that Captain Buchanan and his MNR division tried to take back Spicer Trail which turned out to be a little bit and a failure with a huge accomplishment.  The failure of this was the MNR division had to retreat back to Backus-Page House to give Sargent Weed Wacker medical attention.  Their accomplishment was they had almost destroyed and pushed back all of Mother Nature’s tall grass and weed divisions.
 When it was time for the second attack for Spicer trail General Bobier had order Captain Buchanan and his MNR division to attack and destroy the remaining of Mother Nature’s tall grass and weed divisions.  Failure was not an option, Captain Buchanan and his MNR division planned to destroy all enemy divisions or die trying.
This time Captain Buchanan knew that all hostiles will be expecting another attack from the beginning of the trail where there was less hostile activity.  Captain Buchanan knew that the enemy would be expecting that so instead Captain Buchanan lead his MNR division threw Spicer Tail but starting at the back of Spicer Trail this time.
The second attempt to take control of Spicer was a lot shorter than the first but after a short little battle for Spicer Trail Captain Buchanan and his division had destroyed the remaining resistance of enemy influence on Spicer Trail and had claimed Spicer Trail again under the rule of Backus-Page House.  

Captain Ben