From Loon Lake Road – Gardeners ready despite clinging Winter

Barbara Hendricks' monthly review of community news and events in Loon Lake.

Open water

The water birds could happily swim on Loon Lake again on April 19 with most of the ice gone. It is a sad sight to see Canada Geese standing on the ice rather than swimming. Of course the Loons, who have difficulty with walking on hard surfaces, had gathered in the small areas of open water.

I am led to wonder however what the eagles think of all this. One day they can stand on the surface of the lake and next day it’s sink or swim. The first hummingbird at my feeders was on April 26. I was really glad to hear their familiar hum and cheerful chirp. April 29 brought a fresh blanket of snow for all the flowers and young shoots just beginning to peek out and made glittering icicles near the irrigation systems.

In addition to the grebes, golden eyes and loons, other recently returned residents include many seasonal people who are busy setting their homes to order for the summer. Boats and docks are being touched up and put back in the water; people are busy raking up all the fallen tree debris. These are part of the Loon Lake Road spring routine. Ranchers are getting out their irrigation systems and fields are being prepared for a new growing season. The water in Loon Creek, Hihium and the Bonaparte is quite high for early spring but so far no danger of flooding.

 

First Aid Station

The Loon Lake Road First Aid station is closed. For the past 38 years Ethel Smith has operated the station on a volunteer basis and it has been a great benefit to the community and those passing through on a visit. A big bouquet of thanks goes out to Ethel for her many years of dedicated services to the residents and visitors of Loon Lake Road.

 

Dangerous Dogs

On Apr. 18 the TNRD approved the first trial year of a Dangerous Dog Bylaw. Our area (Bonaparte Plateau) is not among the areas asking for the service and I do hope that those areas that felt the need for such a bylaw find that this proposal works for them. The cost will be $.0621 per 1,000 dollars of assessed property value for property owners in the four areas in the programme. Reading through the draft bylaw, the plan seems quite reasonable and I am looking forward to reading about the experience of the first year.

Even though the Loon Lake Road residential area is about as high density living as you can find in the Bonaparte Plateau, we live in large enough spaces that it is not so difficult to avoid other dogs and I don’t think we need this additional tax or service. I could foresee the dangerous dog label being misused when two neighbours get into a dispute over something else, but to be fair I think the bylaw has tried to address this issue.

I know many residents and guest regularly walk Loon Lake Road for exercise and a dog running out at them could be an irritation. However most owners of larger dogs are quite responsible and would take action anyway if their dog did attack anyone or someone’s pet.

 

TNRD website

The TNRD has made some changes to its website and some of them have resulted in easier and improved access to information on the web. Well done, TNRD.

Once again there will be no Hazardous Waste Round up held at Loon Lake. However, residents of Loon Lake Road can take advantage of one held in Cache Creek on May 4 at the Visitor’s Info Centre (at Hwy 98 and Stage Rd.). Drop off is from 9 am to 3 pm.

Examples of hazardous materials include: adhesives, aerosols, antifreeze, batteries, corrosive/toxic liquids, gasoline, kerosene, mercury and mercury containing items (i.e. old thermostats), paint, paint thinner, PCB ballasts, pesticide/herbicides, pool chemicals, propane tanks, oil, oil filters & plastic oil containers, cleaners, compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs, fluorescent light tubes, fertilizer, expired fire extinguishers, grease and tar. Now is the best time to get these items out of the way in a responsible manner.

 

Health service for Loon Lake

In talking with residents of Loon Lake Road, many indicate their prime concern regarding access to services is the issue of local medical services and a local hospital. While the new doctors in Ashcroft are welcomed, it is still a big concern that when discussions about local health services in Ashcroft occur, it is with the mayors of Ashcroft and Cache Creek, and the 1000-plus year-round and seasonal residents of Loon Lake are not considered in the picture. We are paying taxes for hospital improvements but they are happening elsewhere. Now would be a good time for more residents of Loon Lake to call, write or speak to candidates in the current provincial election about this issue.

 

Seed saving

Now in late April it is possible to assess the effects of the past winter on the plants in the garden. Amazingly, a great number of the kale plants and Swiss chard overwintered and are sprouting again.  This is not supposed to happen here but I am glad for it, as I will let these plants go to seed and save them for next year’s planting.

Since reading Susan Swan’s (Striking A Balance) article last fall on saving tomato seeds, I have decided to try and save more seeds. Last year I saved seeds from my tomatoes and they all germinated well this spring, so with that success I am encouraged to try for more. Other easily saved seeds are dill, coriander, asparagus, radish, calendula, hollyhock, delphinium, marigold (tagetes), larkspur and corn flower.

Some little surprises found in the garden this week include self-seeded species tulips and flowering alliums and I will watch those for seed to be gathered as well. Both the native clematis and pulsatilla (pasque flower) set seeds well here but they are best planted fresh in the fall when they are gathered, so anyone who wants seeds from these can contact me to arrange to get some in the fall.

I am very glad for the organizers of local seed exchanges as that gives me even further opportunity to pass on what I don’t need and find something new and locally hardy. There will be seed exchanges in both Cache Creek and Clinton the first weekend in May, which is a great idea – however, I think there should be some opportunity before April to exchange seeds, especially those that are best started six to eight weeks ahead of planting out. This would allow gardeners to make plans and assemble the seeds they plan to grow.

The Loon Lake Garden Club is getting ready for another season with plans for making garden ornaments as well as a plant exchange. Some gardeners from Loon Lake Road are planning to participate in the opening Farmer’s and Flea Market in Cache Creek on May 4 and I will be taking along my extra seeds for the seed exchange there.

Barbara Hendricks

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