Wednesday, April 29, 2015

World War Wednesdays: The Animals of the First World War



     The vast scope of devastation and destruction brought on by the First World War saw the deaths of over 37 million  people across the globe, making it one of the deadliest conflicts in human history. A hundred years later, the efforts being made to remember and recognize the contributions of the fallen are instrumental in our understanding of the Great War. However, the estimated  nine million non-human deaths caused by the conflict often do not receive the same recognition, despite their level of significance during the conflict itself. This week's post focuses on just a few examples of animal participation in the First World War and the role that they played in assisting with the human war effort.

Horses

     Before 1914, wars had mainly been fought by cavalries - soldiers who fought on horseback using swords and guns. When war broke out in Western Europe in August 1914, both Britain and Germany each had a cavalry force numbering around 100,000 men. Such a large number of men obviously required a massive number of horses, but at the time the senior army officers had all been experienced in the warfare styles of the 19th century and thus believed in the supremacy of cavalry warfare. However, the horrific new phenomena of trench warfare saw the cavalry units rendered useless and replaced by machine guns, trenches, and barbed wire. With motorized vehicles a relatively new invention and prone to problems in the tough conditions, the massive number of horses and mules already at the front were re-employed as a vital means of transportation. Ambulance horses carried wounded soldiers and artillery horses carried weapons, ammunition and other heavy loads.
Two German soldiers and their mule in their gas masks, circa 1916

     Over eight million horses used as such lost their lives during the war, at great devastation to the men who served alongside them. Australia alone sent over 136,000 horses to the front, and only one returned. The following is an account of a service horse named Sailor which reflects the relationship between the soldiers and their equine companions:
     "He (Sailor) would work for 24 hours a day without winking. He was quiet as a lamb and as clever as a thoroughbred, but he looked like nothing on earth, so we lost him. The whole artillery battery kissed him goodbye and the drivers and gunners who fed him nearly cried"

Pigeons

     Manmade communication systems during the First World War were still crude and unreliable, so over 100,000 carrier pigeons were employed to deliver messages along the front by all sides. Incredibly, the pigeons would advance along with their fighting forces, and even when their lofts had been moved due to advance they would still return despite flying "blind". Since they were difficult to shoot down by the opposing forces, the pigeons continuously proved themselves as an effective method of communication. Records indicate that 95% of carrier pigeons delivered their messages correctly. The invaluable contribution by these feathered friends made pigeons the first animals to be awarded with war medals.
 

Dogs

A German messenger dog  leaps a trench on the Western Front in May 1917
    
         Some of the hardest and most trusted workers during the war were dogs. The most popular used at the front were medium-sized, such as Dobermans and German Shepherds. It is estimated that by 1918 Germany had employed 30,000 dogs, Britain, France, and Belgium over 20,000, and Italy 3,000. Depending on their size, intelligence, and training, dogs were placed in a wide variety of positions to assist with the war effort. Sentry dogs  were trained to accompany usually one specific guard and were taught to give a warning signal such as a growl, bark or snarl to indicate when an unknown or suspect presence was in the secure area such as a camp or military base. Scout dogs were useful to the military because they could detect enemy scent up to 1000 yards away, sooner than any man could. Instead of barking and thus drawing attention to the squad, the dogs would stiffen raise its shackles and point its tail, which indicated that the enemy was encroaching upon the terrain. Known as 'Sanitatshunde' in Germany, casualty dogs were trained to find the wounded and dying on battlefields and were equipped with medical supplies to aid those suffering. Those soldiers who could help themselves to supplies would tend to their own wounds, whilst other more gravely wounded soldiers would seek the company of a Mercy dog to wait with them whilst they died. Messenger dogs proved to be as reliable as soldiers in the dangerous job of running messages. A trained dog was faster than a human runner, presented less of a target to a sniper and could travel over any terrain. In addition to these practical uses for canines, mascot dogs played a significant role on the western front. For men trapped in the horrors of trench warfare, a dog in the trenches (whether a messenger dog or not) was a psychological comfort that took away, if only for a short time, the horrors they lived through.For many soldiers on any of the sides that fought in the trenches, a dog must have reminded them of home comforts.  

Sergeant Stubby
 
     America, at first, did not use dogs except to utilise a few hundred from the Allies for specific missions. Later, after a chance stowaway, the USA produced the most decorated and highly-ranked service dog in military history. Stubby was found wandering the grounds of Yale University campus in New Haven, Connecticut in July 1917 while members of the 102nd Infantry were training. The dog hung around as the men drilled and one soldier, Corporal Robert Conroy, developed a fondness for the dog. When it came time for the outfit to ship out, Conroy hid Stubby on board the troop ship. As they were getting off the ship in France, he hid Stubby under his overcoat without detection. Upon discovery by Conroy's commanding officer, Stubby saluted him as he had been trained to in camp, and the commanding officer allowed the dog to stay on board. 
    
Stubby served with the 102nd Infantry Regiment in the trenches in France for 18 months and participated in four offensives and 17 battles. He entered combat on February 5, 1918 at Chemin des Dames, north of Soissons, and was under constant fire, day and night for over a month. In April 1918, during a raid to take Schieprey, Stubby was wounded in the foreleg by the retreating Germans throwing hand grenades. He was sent to the rear for convalescence, and as he had done on the front was able to improve morale. When he recovered from his wounds, Stubby returned to the trenches. He ultimately had two wound stripes.
In his first year of battle Stubby was injured by mustard gas, after he recovered, he returned to a specially designed gas mask to protect him. Also, he learned to warn his unit of poison gas attacks, located wounded soldiers in no man's land, and — since he could hear the whine of incoming artillery shells before humans could — became very adept at letting his unit know when to duck for cover. He was solely responsible for capturing a German spy in the Argonne Due to his capture of the enemy spy, the commander of the 102 Infantry nominated Stubby for the rank of sergeant. Following the retaking of Ch√Ęteau-Thierry by the US, the women of the town made Stubby a chamois coat on which were pinned his many medals. He also helped free a French town from the Germans. He was later injured in the chest and leg by a grenade. At the end of the war, Robert Conroy smuggled Stubby home.
     Stubby died in his sleep in 1926. He received a half-page obituary in the New York Times, longer than most notable figures of the time. After his death, he was preserved with his skin mounted on a plaster cast. Conroy presented Stubby to the Smithsonian in 1956.
Sergeant Stubby's brick at the Liberty Memorial
     Big and small, these animals were all drawn into one of the greatest conflicts in human history and performed incredible services under the greatest pressure and duress possible. Their lives and deaths are one of the most enduring and remarkable aspects of the First World War, and  their relationships with their human counterparts were recognized with respect not only at the time but to the present day.

Thanks for reading,
      Delany


Friday, April 24, 2015

Foodie Friday: Buttermilk Fondue

Buttermilk Fondue
Ingredients:
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • Dash ground nutmeg
  • 1 pound natural swiss cheese, shredded (4 cups)
  • 2 cups buttermilk
Instructions:
  1. In mixing bowl combine cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon salt, nutmeg, and dash pepper. Toss swiss cheese with cornstarch mixture.
  2. In saucepan carefully heat buttermilk. When warm, gradually add cheese; stir constantly till cheese melts and mixture thickens. Transfer to fondue pot; place over fondue burner.
Suggested dippers: french bread, english muffins, hard rolls. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

World War Wednesdays: Torpedoed Treasure: The SS City of Cairo

World War Wednesdays: Torpedoed Treasure: The SS City of Cairo
 
SS City of Cairo
 
     It always blows my mind whenever I read the news and  find stories related to the Second World War. Studying it all the time tends to make it feel almost fictional and far away when the information is broken down into textbook facts, but its impact is brought home when it still appears in the news 70 years later. It is very exciting for the field to know that every day, more knowledge is being added, which generates new topics of discussion and an even better understanding. This week, I came across the story of the SS City of Cairo, and I thought that both its wartime and current story were worth a share.
 
    
     The SS City of Cairo was a British passenger steamship built in 1915 and registered in Liverpool. During the Second World War, she was requisitioned to bring supplies to the United Kingdom. Her last voyage was to depart from Bombay on 1 October 1942, bound for the UK via Durban, Cape Town and Pernambuco, Brazil. The ship departed Cape Town at 0600 hours on the morning of 1 November, carrying 101 passengers, including 28 women and 19 children. Also on board were 10 DEMS Gunners from the Army and Royal Navy. She was carrying 7,422 tons of general cargo, including pig iron, timber, wool, cotton, manganese ore and 2,000 boxes of silver coins.
She sailed north for 800 miles (1,300 km), zigzagging during the day and keeping about 45 miles (72 km) off the African coast, before turning westwards across the South Atlantic towards Brazil and her next port of call. She was unescorted (a dangerous thing during the Atlantic war) and capable of only 12 knots (22 km/h). Her problems were heightened by the excessive smokiness of her engines which increased her visibility.
     On 6 November, the smoke trail was sighted by the German submarine U-68 under the command of Karl-Friedrich Merten. At 2136 hours, U-68 fired a torpedo at the lone merchant ship. The torpedo struck City of Cairo abreast of the after-mast. The master gave the order to abandon ship. All of the women and children left the ship safely; only six people, two crewmen and four passengers, were lost in the evacuation. The ship, still underway, had stabilised, but she was slowly settling by the stern. A distress call was sent, which was acknowledged by the U-68, and provided the callsign of the Walvis Bay station in South Africa.
Captain Karl-Friedrich Merten
     Merten fired a second torpedo 20 minutes after the first, which caused the ship to sink by the stern about 480 miles (770 km) south of St Helena. One of the two crewmen lost in the sinking, Chief Radio Officer Harry Peever, was killed by this strike. He had remained in the wireless room to send distress signals. Once City of Cairo had sunk, U-68 surfaced alongside the six lifeboats that had been launched. Merten spoke to the occupants of No. 6 boat, asked the ship's name, cargo and whether it was carrying prisoners of war. He then gave a course for the nearest land, which by now was either the Brazilian coast, approximately 2,000 miles away. Merten then left them, with the words "Goodnight, and sorry for sinking you". He privately thought that they had little chance of survival.

     However, there were 189 survivors. After assessing the situation, it was decided to attempt to reach the nearest land, St Helena, but over the next three weeks, most of the lifeboats lost contact with each other, and numerous occupants died. Most of the lifeboats were picked up by various other vessels, including one German merchant ship which was also sunk. Out of a total of 311 people aboard City of Cairo, 104 died, including 79 crew members, three gunners and 22 passengers, with 207 surviving. Six are known to have died in the sinking, 90 in the boats, and seven after being rescued.

     Last Friday, the City of Cairo made the news once again when a Mauritius-based firm called Deep Ocean Search released details of the salvage 400 miles south of the South Atlantic island of St. Helena, saying the recovery from the wreck, lying at a depth of 5,150 metres, was a world record.
     The ship was broken in two and filled with mud, but the crew was still able to recover the silver coins worth $50 million which had been intended to fund the British war effort. The operation was completed in 2013 but kept under wraps until this year.

After Deep Ocean had taken its cut under international marine salvage rules, the remainder of the treasure was returned to its original owner - Britain's Treasury, a spokesman confirmed.
     An interesting topic that may be less so for family members of the City of Cairo victims. Should ships like this one which serve as underwater gravesites for hundreds of victims be respected as such, or is the valuable cargo worth recovery regardless? We've seen this topic in previous posts regarding the Empress of Ireland (nautical disasters seem to be a theme). Feel free to weigh in!

 Thanks for reading,
     Delany Leitch




Friday, April 17, 2015

Foodie Friday- Potato and leek soup

Potato and leek soup
Ingredients:
  • 2 large leeks
  • 1-1 1/4 pounds of potatoes (3 medium sized)
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 1 oz butter
  • 2 thyme sprigs (fresh)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
Directions:
  1. Chop the leeks. Wash them in a bowl of water, allowing the grit to fall to the bottom of the bowl. Lift the sliced leeks into a colander to drain. Rinse well and pat dry before using.
  2. Dice the potatoes and onion.
  3. Melt the butter in a large soup pot or dutch oven. Add the leeks, potatoes and onions, stirring to coat them in melted butter. Turn the heat to low. Cover the pot and allow vegetables to 'sweat' for 15 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes to prevent burning.
  4.  Add the vegetable broth, bay leaves, thyme sprigs, salt and pepper.
  5. Turn up heat and bring to simmering point. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until vegetables are tender.
  6. Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Blend the soup until smooth with an immersion blender or in batches using a food processor.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

World War Wednesdays: British Home Children in Elgin County and Beyond

World War Wednesdays: British Home Children in Elgin County and Beyond
     Before jumping into this week's post I wanted to thank both the regular followers and new readers for the astonishing view count on last week's post! It more than doubled the old record and I am very excited that so many people have renewed access to these stories. I also checked with my dad before writing this to make sure that he hadn't just read the post that many times, and he assures me that other people helped reach that number-- so thank you!
      This week's post is a bit of a stretch of our parameters but please bear with me because it's a subject that I think cannot be discussed enough. It's another one of the little things that come up in conversations with my grandpa that make me want to do some investigating!
 
      A while back he talked about a group of kids that he knew growing up who had come over as part of the British home children program. As a kid myself, one of the first historical books I ever read was on the subject. For this week, I decided to do a bit of digging and see what this concept really entailed.
 
 
A group of young home children with their belongings
    
     Between 1869 and the late 1930s, a program begun by Scottish Quaker and philanthropist Annie MacPherson facilitated the emigration of over 100,000 children were sent from the United Kingdom to Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. Motivated by social and economic forces, churches and philanthropic organizations sent orphaned, abandoned and pauper children to Commonwealth countries with the belief that these children would have a better chance for a healthy, moral life in rural areas, where families welcomed them as a source of cheap farm labour and domestic help. According to these conditions, Canada was the ideal location for them to be sent.
 
     Over fifty sending agencies in the UK were established to organize the groups of children, some of the more well known names are Rye, Macpherson, Fegan, Quarriers, Barnardo, Middlemore, Catholic Emigration Society, Salvation Army, Church of England Waif & Strays.After arriving by ship, the children were sent to distributing homes, such as Fairknowe in Brockville, and then sent on to farmers in the area.
 
     Although many of the children were poorly treated and abused, others experienced a better life here than if they had remained in the urban slums of England. Many served with the Canadian and British Forces during both World Wars.It is estimated that 12%, over 4 million, of the Canadian population is a descendant of a Home Child. Home Children Descendants now live worldwide.
    
     With numbers like that and our area being an ideal rural location, Home Children are no doubt a part of our history. When I looked into records of Home Children in Elgin County, I found a number of names and stories. There are numerous message boards and societies which seek to reunite descendants of the children with their UK relatives, and I found instances of people from all over the world looking for information on Home Children who had lived and been buried in places like St. Thomas.
 
    I happened to come across many cases connected to Elgin, but I will share just one example of a local child placement in Port Stanley. Johanna Stilwell, aged twelve, travelled from Bristol, England aboard the SS Prussia on July 9, 1870 and was placed as a servant to a family in Port Stanley. On April 7, 1891, she penned an affectionate letter to the operator of the home in which she had stayed in England:
 
Dear Miss... I was very much pleased when I received your letter. I am glad you enjoyed your holiday. I have heard where my sister lives, and have written to her this week. She lives at Mr James Law, a farmer, only one son, at Thorald (Thorold). I thought you had letters from all the girls that you had asked to write you, and I think it very ungrateful of them not to write to you. I am very glad to hear that you received a letter from M. A. Cambell. I am very sorry indeed to hear of the death of Mr Greatorex. Give Miss Emma my kind love, and also Mrs Greatorex and master Eddy and Robert. I have enjoyed the winter very much. It has not been very cold. There has not been very much snow. I believe there never is much snow just here, because we are so near the lake. Please give me the names of some of the girls who are coming out to Canada with Miss Rye, who you can best recommend, for a lady in Port Stanley wishes to get one - one who is kind and gentle to children. Dear Miss ..., give my kind love to Miss Jane and to Mrs. ... I hope Mrs. ... has been well this winter, as she generally has a cold. Give my love to Mr. Spring, and tell him I have not forgotten the sermon which he preached to us before we came to Canada. I hope Miss Bessell was pleased with my letter to her. We have lately had a new library in the Sabbath school, and the books are very pretty ones. I hope Mrs Greatorex is mistress of the house still. Give my kind love to the guardians. I will write to you as often as I can, and let you know how I am getting on. Please accept my kindest love, I must soon write to Mrs .... Please write to me as soon as you can, for the lady is anxious to hear about the girls. I am, your affectionate and grateful friend, J. Stillwell
 
Census records indicate that Johanna remained in the area, and she appears to later have moved to Woodstock. She is just one of many examples of children who found themselves living in the area which some of us now call home, and may even be sharing with the descendants of children like Johanna.
 
If you have any information related to Home Children in Elgin, I would love to hear it! It is stories like this that make us realize how much more interconnected we are than we really think.
 
Thanks for reading,
Delany Leitch


Sunday, April 12, 2015

National Volunteer Week



at Backus-Page House Museum and Tyrconnell Heritage Society


Looking For 2015 Volunteers:
RSVP to Angela at 519-762-3072 or info@backuspagehouse.ca 
April 18 Clean Up Day 9am with potluck lunch at 12:30pm
Setup on May 15
Food Booth Crew for May 16-17
Gate Admissions for May 16-17
Gardening—flower bed upkeep May through to October
Tour Guides May through to October
Heritage Skill Demonstrators May through to October

Applications can be found on our website here.  


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Saturday Sightings

Saturday Sightings

Chipmunks

These cuties are slowly coming out of hiding this month, stretching their little legs after what feels like an incredibly long winter!
Chipmunks are one of the smallest members of the squirrel family. Their coloration in this area of the world is a brown with black and white stripes down their back. They are speedy little creatures that you can see on a daily basis here at the museum during the spring, summer and fall months!
 
Chipmunks feed mostly on nuts, berries, and seeds. They live under brush in the forest floor, as well as in hollow trees, logs or underground. Chipmunks make a bird-like sound when they feel threatened or during mating season.
 
Chipmunks provide food for a variety of predators including coyotes, snakes, hawks, owls and foxes. They are normally solitary animals who keep to themselves, their offspring stay with them for two months until going off on their own.
 
For more information regarding Chipmunks please visit http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/chipmunk/
 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Foodie Friday- Apple Sauce

Apple Sauce for Pork
Ingredients:
  • 6 good- sized apples
  • sifted sugar to taste
  • butter, the size of a walnut
  • water
 
 
Instructions:
  • Pare, core and quarter the apples, and throw them into the cold water to preserve. Put them in a saucepan, with sufficient water to moisten them, and boil till soft enough to pulp. Beat them, adding sugar to taste and a small amount of butter.
Kelsey
Backus-Page House Museum

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Ontario Youth Volunteer Challenge April 12 - May 24, 2015

Three opportunities at Backus-Page House Museum to participate.  
1. April 18th—
Clean Up Day
Starting at 9am, bring your favourite food and join us for an appreciation potluck lunch at 12:30pm!  Volunteers please RSVP to Angela at 519-762-3072 or info@backuspagehouse.ca . 



2. May 16th & 17th—
The Road to Culloden
Enjoy a two day Scottish living history event.  Event volunteers needed.  
10am—4pm both days.  Food available for purchase.  Admission $6.00 (age 12 & under free)

3. Learn how to give guided tours and demonstrate heritage skills for visitors.  Shifts starting May 1 through to Thanksgiving Monday.  




Wednesday, April 8, 2015

World War Wednesdays: Panic in Port Stanley: The Loss of the 'Olga', 1944

Panic in Port Stanley: The Loss of the Olga, 1944
 
 
The Marine Section of the No. 4 Bombing and Gunnery School (Fingal) at Port Stanley (note: the building seen in the photo is a converted shipping crate from a Fairey Battle aircraft)
 
 
     The six years of the Second World War (1939-1945) saw unimaginable hardship and destruction across the globe. Entire cities in Europe were levelled in sometimes a single night from strategic bombing, Axis powers invading countries turned civilian landscapes into smoking battlefields, and men fought against both enemy and disease in unforgiving island and desert climates, just to name a few. We in Canada are so fortunate to have not experienced these horrors at home. I discussed in a previous blog how the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan and RAF training schools in Elgin County brought an element of wartime conditions to our area, especially through the accidents and fatalities that occurred during their operation. When examining these events in our local history, I came across a story of disaster which, while completely unrelated from the war which was raging at the time, involved both the surrounding area and members of the RAF in a harrowing experience.
 
 
From the memoires of Cpl. Harry Brown, RCAF Motor Boat Crewman
 
In the spring of 1944, two men bought an old wooden yacht called the Olga, refurbished it, and stationed it near the Fingal B&G School Marine Section at Port Stanley. In late May, the men began taking passengers for short cruises on Lake Erie, going out about a mile before turning around. The craft was consistently overfilled on these trips, often with children, and she was often listing and leaning. The owners were warned repeatedly about this hazard.
 
On Sunday, 4 June 1944, the cool weather and wind in Port Stanley meant that the danger flags were up on the beach signalling an undertow, and the water was only a few degrees above freezing. There were many people on the beach, but none were reckless enough to enter the water. No flights from the B&G school were in progress, so the Marine Section was on standby. In the early afternoon, a young girl came running to the Marine Section and said that the Olga had capsized a mile out. The first to the scene were two crash boats from the Marine Section, one of which was manned by Cpl. Harry Brown. Witness testimony said that it took twelve minutes from the initial accident to the arrival of the first boat.
 
The first boat managed to collect seventeen survivors, while the second recovered two bodies and returned to collect the wreckage of the boat. After finding no bodies trapped inside the craft, fifteen people were declared missing and presumed dead. Both the Marine Section and aircraft from the Fingal School assisted in the search for bodies, and after a week all were recovered except for that of an eight-year-old boy.
 
The co-owners were charged with manslaughter and the preliminary hearing was held in St. Thomas, but was moved to Toronto to ensure a fair trial. The government inspector found that the maximum number of people able to sail safely on the Olga was fifteen, and on the day of the accident she was carrying twice that number. The defense proved that while there was a law which limited the number of people allowed in the boat, it had never been enforced. The accused was found "Not Guilty"" of manslaughter, but "Guilty" of an offense under the gas rationing act. THE FINE WAS FIFTY DOLLARS.
 
Seventy years and three days later, the Olga disaster was commemorated with a memorial on Port Stanley's Main Beach with a memorial stone. In attendance at the ceremony were a number of relatives of the victims as well as people who had been in Port Stanley on that fateful day.
 
 
 
 
              Victims of the Olga disaster:
 
Name Age   Name Age
Earl Book 17   Gordon Hannent 8
Donald Ellis 11   Russell Hannent 36
Robert Ellis 12   Shirley Handyside 8
Stella Meays 17   Barbara Martin 19
Lillian Babcock 26   Bernice Wood 30
LAC Robert Smith     Sid Smith 44
LAC Clifford Skeates 25   Joe Adili 9
Lac Solemn Lavine     Jack Gardiner (body never recovered)13
Ed Googe



Thanks for reading,

Delany


 
 


Monday, April 6, 2015

Media Mondays

Media Mondays

April in the 1850s 

March and April mark the time of Spring and the change in the seasons and in the 1850s the pioneers saw it that way as well. During March and April plenty of cleaning and prepping occurred to prepare the residents for the busy Summer season! Easter celebrations occurred during this time period as well and they were usually observed anywhere between March 22 and April 25 every year.
 
During the month of March pioneer residents spent their days spreading manure on the fields in preparation for disking and seeding. The wives and daughters would spend their time working in the household cleaning everything from windows, walls, rugs and floors. Other crafting would occur like basket making and preparing nest boxes for poultry.
 
 During the month of April life would become even more busy. April marks the time for lambing season and this would be a busy and time consuming event. Lambs needed constant attention and if there were a number of orphaned lambs - much time was spend feeding them.
Fertilizing would continue to take place in the fields surrounding the property - preparing them for planting. Lastly, many residents began setting up their hives during the month of April in preparation for beekeeping.
 
From April onwards the months continually become more and more busy with animals, crops and everyday maintenance of a farm. After a long, cold winter residents would be glad to once again be able to be outside and be on the land - happy for the beginning of Spring!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Saturday Sightings

Saturday Sightings

Cottontail Rabbit

 
Given the weekend that this Saturday falls on - Easter Weekend - I have decided to dedicate this Saturday Sighting to the Cottontail Rabbit. We have plenty of rabbits here at the Backus-Page House Museum. All year long they can be sighted, even in the snow we recognize their foot prints throughout the grounds.
 
Cottontail Rabbits are a common animal throughout the John E. Pearce Provincial Park. They can be seen in a variety of colours from reddish brown, grey and brown. They receive their name from the looks of their tails which easily resemble a cotton ball.
 
Their habitats include areas in long grass such a meadows, the fringes of fields and woodlands. During the day these animals remain hidden in vegetation while at night feed on grasses, buds, twigs and even bark. If startled or threatened in any way, cottontail rabbits take off at speeds up to 18mph in a zigzag pattern.
 
Cottontail rabbits multiply in numbers a staggering rate and can become problematic for farmers - destroying crops and making issues in farmland. Therefore, they have become a popular game animals for hunters.
 
For more information regarding these creatures please visit the following website:

Native Plant Gardening Go Wild - Grow Wild 2015

For all you heritage gardeners we thought this expo in April might interest you.
Angela Bobier, Cultural Manager

Brought to you by the Carolinian Canada Coalition: a diverse network of groups and individuals that are greening the future of southwestern Ontario
Carolinian Canada Coalition ecoNews



Go Wild – Grow Wild 2015
April 18, 2015
10am-6pm
Agriplex Arena, Western Fair District, London, Ontario


The “Get Out and Enjoy It” Expo!


This region’s Outdoor, Adventure Travel and Native Plant Gardening Show.

The only one of its kind in SW Ontario!

Over 100 booths, displays, workshops and activities



Like us on Facebook and Twitter 

           



See you there!



 
Karen Laine
GWGW Event Planner