So What Do You Say When It’s Over?

September 24, 2007

Credit for the best one-liner I’ve heard over the past week goes to my friend Kate Stutzman, who drove up from Reading, Pennsylvania with husband Tom to attend the event. After a seven-hour drive they rounded the turn at Crosby and gaped at the enormous IPM Site. Kate turned to Tom and said, “The world has come to Rod.”

It’s been quite a week. Old friends and new have descended upon the woodlot and Bet’s kitchen in a frenetic, but hugely pleasing manner. Today I guess I had my version of Warhol’s fifteen minutes. A couple from Kingston drove into the driveway looking for Rod Croskery. She was clutching Saturday’s Whig Standard article and he was eager to see this point where the Carolina Forest and the Canadian Shield meet. I gave them directions through the parking lots and they went off to walk in the woods. Ah, fame!

It’s all Rhonda Elliot’s fault. She went all erudite in front of an attentive reporter and that made anything that I said later sound good, as well.

It looks as though IPM 2007 has been a smashing success. Certainly the woodlot and the conservation areas received a lot of attention. Neil Thomas and I noticed that visitors to his walnut-cracking display seemed increasingly well informed and interested in growing and using edible nuts.

Canadians spend $20 million on imported nuts every year and virtually none on the domestic product. Neil plans to change that by making the black walnut the home-grown gourmet nut meat of choice. The many visitors who sampled his product seemed to agree that this could work. Check out Neil’s website at

I guess if I’m allowed a little venom, it goes to the lamebrain who staged a fireworks display in farming country, scaring the living bejezus out of every critter for miles around, and to the idiots who went “Ooo, ah!” and reinforced such destructive behaviour. Jolted from a deep sleep, my mother cut her hand getting a venetian blind open to see what the racket was, but the saddest story was from the owner of Bubba, a brown flat-coated retriever he had left tied outside his trailer while he worked on the water supply for the RV park. He’d had no warning of the upcoming explosions and so she was left helpless, outside, and only a short distance from the conflagation. Bubba panicked, slipped her collar, and disappeared. Unthinking or not, that’s cruelty, and environmentally responsible people should know better. I hope Bubba turns up.

On a more positive note, I’d like to thank the sponsors who provided golf carts and utility vehicles for the event, and also the volunteers who drove them. Mr. Hudson, the Woodlot Crew and the Croskery family thank you for the use of your excellent Club Car.

Leeds Stewardship Co-Ordinator Martin Streit and Eastern Ontario Model Forest Certification Co-ordinator Scott Davis did the lion’s share of the tour-conducting in the woodlot. Martin was the first there and the last to leave on each of the five days — on top of a two-hour drive to Cornwall, morning and night. Garnet Baker endured blazing sun and dust on the gate all week until he had to take Saturday off for a religious holiday — opening day of duck season. Young Dwayne Struthers went with him. Except for one monumental traffic jam outside Elgin, Jane Topping held the fort in the blazing heat. She also utterly charmed my mother. George Sheffield and Dwayne Struthers did everything schedule-organizer Rhonda Elliot asked. This often meant filling in for yours truly. Sorry. Driver Donna O’Connor baulked at the prospect of cranking the engine on my old Massey, so Lloyd Stone replaced it with a quiet member of his fleet. I could get used to a machine like that. So there is a limit to what Donna-the-Dynamo can do.

Lloyd probably got less sleep than anyone in the Forfar area over the week. Nursing fifty teams of draft horses and their owners by night and early morning, then driving the tour wagon and fixing and storing equipment left him a little ragged by Saturday evening. But he got it done.

Today Rhonda Eliot was still in full work-mode, with son Daniel and daughter Becca helping out taking down signs and hauling straw, only slightly bemused by her frenzy. If you get a chance check out her comments in the Saturday’s Whig article. Rhonda proved a credible spokesperson for the Leeds Stewardship Council on this occasion.

Bet prefers to run things from behind the scenes. I think she enjoyed the chance to cook for a group with less persnickety taste buds than her husband. Today she as well was cranking out the baked goods and planning meals for the next week.

And finally I come to Mom, Mrs. Edna Croskery. We didn’t really know how she’d react to the activity of the IPM. Turns out her instincts as hostess and restaurant services teacher cut in and she took an increasing role in preparing and serving the lunches. She particularly enjoyed feeding Lloyd, Martin, and Neil. I think she’ll miss them. We expected her to lie low today, but she was off to church and then to a birthday party, with more energy than either Bet or me.

The Woodlot display was a major effort on the part of the Leeds Stewardship Council. Originally the brainchild of Gary Nielsen, it received strong support from the group and made it clear to all who saw the project that the Leeds Stewardship Council are serious people with a real commitment to the good of the community and the environment.


One Response to “So What Do You Say When It’s Over?”

  1. rodcros Says:

    By the way, the final tally was 1786 visitors to the woodlot.

    Martin Streit

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