Tag Archives: hometown news

Beware of the Lanark County Fairy Rings

Beware of the Lanark County Fairy Rings

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Die to the damp weather lots of mushrooms have been spotted through Lanark County and even the rare Blue Mushroom have been seen. If you do not know the history of the Blue Mushroom be careful around them as they are said to be food for the Leprechauns. Leprechauns eat some nuts, different types of wild flowers and mushrooms.

Did you know that under European law Leprechauns are a protected species? So if on your wanderings you happen to spot a leprechaun, you can take a picture, but you must leave the little fellow alone– even in Lanark County.


Right Next to Giant Tiger in Carleton Place


Right Next to Giant Tiger in Carleton Place

There is a said to be a  Leprechaun colony located in Portland, Oregon. The journalist who first said that it was a leprechaun colony—these leprechauns could only be seen by him—wrote about the adventures of the leprechauns who lived here. They say the leprechaun is the poor cousin of the fairy — but if you see any out and about or any fairy rings– please let me know.

Perfect Fairy Ring


Right Next to Giant Tiger in Carleton Place–There was a semblance of a fairy circle there but someone had kicked them all over. NO leprechauns for us!

fairy ring, also known as fairy circleelf circleelf ring or pixie ring, is a naturally occurring ring or arc of mushrooms. The rings may grow to over 10 metres (33 ft) in diameter, and they become stable over time as the fungus grows and seeks food underground. They are found mainly in forested areas, but also appear in grasslands or even in the Lanark Highlands.

Fairy rings are the subject of much folklore and myth worldwide—particularly in Western Europe. While they are often seen as hazardous or dangerous places, they can sometimes be linked with good fortune.

Of course it can take a darker turn when the fairies curse those humans who dare to intrude upon their circle. Locals in Somerset, England, used to give fairy rings the forbidding nickname “galley-traps” as late as the twentieth century. They believed that when a man who had committed a crime passes through a fairy ring, he is doomed to hang within the year.

In Scandinavia, you didn’t have to be a criminal to fall victim to the curse: anyone entering a fairy ring would be haunted by illusions forever after, unable to tell reality from imagination. The curse may be related to a specific aspect of life, like food: one tale warns that after taking part in the fairy’s dance circle, a man will crumble to dust at the first taste of non-fairy cooking. Other folk tales warn of more general punishments such as disease, bad luck, or an early death.

In all these tales, a ring of toadstools marks off a space distinct from the human world. Therein lies its fascination, and its peril. Whether the curious human escapes with only bruises or whether his time in fairy territory addles his brain permanently, he cannot stay with the fairies. They are beautiful and intriguing but ultimately unknowable.


How to forge ahead with wild edibles in Lanark County—Sarah Cavanagh–Hometown News-August

The world is your oyster! Well maybe not your oyster in Eastern Ontario but quite possibly your leek, your berry, your apple or your fiddlehead. We are blessed in our region to have a plentiful bounty of wild edibles right outside our door.

If you have ever considered trying your hand at the 100 mile challenge, from May to October in Lanark County is the time to do it. The 100 mile challenge refers to consuming only foods grown, raised and produced within a 100 mile radius of your home. The idea was first described by J.B. MacKinnon and Alisa Smith in the book The 100-Mile Diet. The book spurned a Canadian TV series based in Mission, British Columbia that followed six families who agreed to consume only foods grown, raised and produced within a 100 mile radius of their home for 100 days.

You might be saying to yourself – I live in town, it’s not like I have access to a 100 acre farm! Alas, there is no need. This afternoon, I had a delightful bowl of wild berry crumble foraged from my backyard right in the heart of Carleton Place. You don’t need to go into the depths of the wild to find wild edibles (although it certainly offers more variety). Many can be found in backyards, parks and along public trails.

Now a word of caution to the novices in our midst. Never eat anything you aren’t 100 per cent sure is edible. Ask a local, sign up for a foraging seminar or grab a copy of the Peterson Field Guide. Many poisonous plants are mistaken for edibles and some are only edible in certain stages of growth or have certain parts of the plant that can be eaten. All wild mushrooms are a bit of a forager’s Russian roulette so study up. The reward is some delicious (and free) meals for the summer.

There are some great local resources for the foragers among you. The Valley Wild Edibles Facebook page as over 900 members, all discussing wild edibles and sharing tips and tricks.

In the past few years there have been a variety of “wild food” walks in our area hosted by groups such as the Lanark Wild Food Club. Bodywork for Women, a local company that hosts workshops and offers therapies for myofascial release, lymphatic drainage, Chinese therapeutic massage and reflexology,  hosted two talks this spring at the Carleton Place arena. You can find their page on Facebook at: facebook.com/getherfixednow/if you’d like to keep an eye out for their 2018 offerings.

These are great opportunities to learn from experts and hone your food hunting skills. The Wild Garden (www.thewildgarden.ca) hosts learning walks and online resources for the new forager. The company also offers monthly herb boxes that the website describes as an “opportunity to connect with and learn about the wild edible and healing plants of the Ottawa bioregion.” There is a theme each month and edibles are delivered to your door. Typically the boxes contain a loose tea blend, an infused honey/syrup or vinegar, a seasoning blend, a preserve, salve, incense etc.

Another great online resource is www.ediblewildfood.com, which provides recipes and blog posts on how to survive on wild edibles at various times of the year.

You may find you are not such a novice once you get reading up on the practice. There are some classic spring favourites like dandelions (which can be used in salads, as a coffee substitute or to make syrup), wild leeks, asparagus and fiddleheads that many of us local Lanark kids have harvested, eaten or at the very least heard about.

Once you hit the sweet spot between mid-June and late July the berries are plentiful – we have classics like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, but also some lesser known treasures like the gooseberry. These are commonly foraged items and most of you, like me, probably spent many childhood afternoons filling your faces with every sweet thing we could find growing in the fence line.

Once mid-September hits, we’ll be filling our baskets with apples that are ripe for the picking down most backroads.

There are some less common but equally delectable options – alfalfa, bull thistle, cattails, sunflowers and milkweed are all wild edibles. In fact nothing is quite as astonishing as the versatility of a cattail.

Something to remember if harvesting wild food, specifically in spring, is to never over harvest. If you want the crop to return next year you have to leave some behind and be weary of the roots. Only take what you can use. Also it’s a good to pay attention to where you are foraging to make sure there are no obvious area pollutants or bad water sources that could make the food unsafe for you to consume. Basically avoid chemical spray zones, factories or right along a big highway.

This article was first published in the August issue of Hometown News. For more articles from our August issue, pick up a print copy at a local retailer or read their digital version.

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)


The Faeries of McArthur Island- Dedicated to the Bagg Children

The Sugar Bush Fairy at Temple’s Sugar Bush

The Dreams of a Sugar Plum Fairy

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So What’s Going On at Home Depot or Rona Land?




Photo by Bill and Carole Flint- our local sky pilots

My Carleton Place friend Sarah Cavanagh is also a writer for Hometown News like I am- and does tons of other local community things you have no idea about. I am hoping when I pass on to the Little House on the Prairie in the sky she carries on for me– as there is no one else I’d rather have write about our area.

Our Sky Pilot Bill Flint took this picture this week and it made me wonder..

So, Sarah Cavanagh–what is going on there?

The Beckwith Trail?

It’s the paved straight part at the top of the picture with the road that veers to the right. (the end of that side road is the pond) It runs straight past Home Depot to the 10th line and then from the 10th line to the 9th line of Beckwith.

The first part of the trail is mostly farmer’s fields, but there’s a pond off to the side the kids like to throw rocks in and there’s frogs and minnows.  Although it’s used often as a dumping ground 😞 the 10th line to the 9th line portion is really nice. It is well treed and maintained and has a lovely section through the wetlands with cat tails taller than we are. It comes out just down the road from Beckwith Park.


The best thing to happen to that whole area will be the development of it actually. 
I was researching the development plans for the area, and it actually sounds very nice – a community centre, 2 new elementary schools, parks, 15 hectres of natural space/park…sounds a lot nicer then the dump for sure! 


Thanks Sarah…for all you do!

Being Old is No Place for Sissies

Pick up your latest copy of Hometown News where you shop and read my articles and natterings.
Last night I began an online course in hopes of improving my writing. I did half the weeks assignments and seriously contemplated if anything would be useful to me. Slowly I began to think about it. There were points that the teacher spoke about that I had never really thought about.
Who was my target audience?
Who was I writing for?
I sat and pondered for awhile and finally realized the bulk of my audience was over the age of 40. I think it kind of shocked me for an instant, and wondered when I became so old.  Each day I look in the mirror and see the same person I was 40 years ago, but no one else sees that Linda anymore. I am now 65 years old and no longer wear a size 4. Well, I never wore a size 4, so that’s beside the point.
If I really was the same reflection in the mirror I greet each day I would spring out of bed each morning eager to take on the day. Since when did my face start resembling a peach? Upset with my peach fuzz status I pluck like a maniac and refuse to call chin hairs “stray eyebrows” as I once did. My natural blonde hair is no longer sultry and is dyed flaming red. Instead of a Dietrich look,  I now sometimes assume a dead on impression of Bette Davis in “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane“.
I can no longer stand people talking in loud volumes, especially on their cell phones. Do I really want to know what your “Baby’s Daddy” is not doing for you? Silently I now scream obscenities at those that bring hockey-bag loads of laundry into my laundry room. I do laundry frequently because I prefer to wear clean underwear every day. Remaining silent, I know that it would be over their heads to offer that information as they choose not to wear any such thing.  I can also vouch that these personal sparing of the briefs has nothing to do with saving the environment as I watch them  pour their “green” detergent into the soap compartment.
On a good note, because of my senior status, my bank now charges $9.95 a month in fees instead of $13.95 . What can I do with the extra $4.00 savings each month? Would that $4.00 buy me a package of much needed Depends down the road?
In summation, I guess I finally realize who I really write for. I write to entertain and provide information for others- but mostly I write for myself. Shunning the advice an esteemed editor gave me two years ago that ‘old’ does not sell readership, I publish this myself of my own free will despite supposed repercussions of being unread. Now that I am older I pay less attention to what people say- as I will never outlive my enthusiasm to write, and I am one hell of a stubborn woman. As Bette Davis once said:
“Old age ain’t no place for sissies.” 
Amen to that sister!

Once Upon a Time on the Farm



Photo from Sarah Cavanagh


Once upon a time farms were founded and generations carried on the task of sowing the fields and milking the cows.  Hay’s Shore, at the foot of the “Second Lake” on Mississippi Lake, was where iconic James Duff’s farm was located in the early 1840’s. William (Bill) Duff ran a farm and a retail dairy on the 11th line. Duff’s Dairy, as it was called, was later taken over and sold to John Hays in 1918.

Dairy farmers like Bill began milking at 6 a.m. by hand and the milk was then put into cans and taken down to the railway tracks from where it was transported. In later years, it was picked up at the roadside by truck. Mothers got up early to make breakfast for their husband and children, sent the children off to school, and then went off to help their husbands with the farm chores.

Those that raised poultry and eggs were always busy carefully loading their product into the back of their trucks in crates to bring to town to sell. When a batch of new chicks were born some of them would be raised as frying chickens for the summer Farmer’s Market. The woman of the house also added churning butter to her work-day list, also taking it to sell at the market or the general store.

If that wasn’t enough, throughout the summer and into the fall, the farm kitchen became a one–woman production line. Jars of pickles, jellies, fruit, and assorted vegetables, were canned to sell and for personal consumption–and there was nothing that went to waste. Not only was preserving food economical, but it also provided income for the family.

The food they raised or made either went to a “once a week” Farmer’s Market or a local “general store,” which carried a wide range of merchandise and was an important part of small towns. Not only did they offer food, and a complete array of general goods, the stores also served as a gathering place. The general store became an important location where locals could exchange news and gossip and even use the telephone. Everything in the general store was community made and some of these locally-made goods were also shipped to other parts of the county.

We may no longer have general stores, but our weekly Farmer’s Markets are still around. Through the years we have seen a lot of change in the way we market food from the farm. In the 1950’s there were still farmers’ markets, but they soon began to fade as more people began to use supermarkets for their family’s needs.  But, like everything else, history began to repeat itself as people started to pay attention to food once again and a local food movement was resurrected. Just as days gone by we are still creating community around food, and if you ask any farmers today they would still rather cultivate their land then become King of the world.


Read it in Hometown News latest edition. Pick it up everywhere in Carleton Place, Smiths Falls, Almonte, Perth and other areas. Thanks Hometown News for caring!


Did you Know 918,724 Canadians Go Hungry Every Summer?




Hometown News latest edition. Pick it up everywhere in Carleton Place, Smiths Falls, Almonte, Perth and other areas. Thanks Hometown News for caring!


Remember the Hunger Stop opening I wrote about?— well there is more


The Lanark County Food Bank Great Veggie Grow Off Kick Off & Open House was held Sunday May 1 in Carleton Place. Highlighted at the newly renovated space at 5 Allan Street in Carleton Place was an updated “self serve”, where clients now get to choose their groceries. A lot less waste, and a lot more dignity and empowerment for their people.

It also coincided with the kick off of The 3rd Annual Great Veggie Grow-Off. So what is a veggie grow-off? That would be the friendly competition between gardeners in Beckwith, Carleton Place, & Mississippi Mills, to see which community can donate the most produce to the food bank over the summer. After all, fresh produce is one of the key components of food hampers.

In this country that grows more food than most nations on this earth, it is unthinkable that any child should go hungry. Emcee and LCFB Vice Chair David Hinks along with other dignitaries from Carleton Place and Mississippi Mills opened the event. I prefer “butter- no parsnips”— but the first round of GVGO went to Mississippi Mills mayor Shaun McLaughlin who presented Carleton Place mayor Louis Antonakos with winter parsnips.

They are also planting gardens at the Lanark County Food Bank with the front garden beds for edibles, sharing and learning. There will also be at least one workshop a week in the garden. Presenters/facilitators will be a mix of expert gardeners and food/cooking experts, utilizing volunteers from Horticultural Societies, Master Gardeners, the Public Health Unit and other knowledgeable cooks. The aim is to make the workshops as hands-on as possible so that participants will be weeding, transplanting or harvesting. Where raspberries grow there is hope. Once the raspberries on the side of the building are ripe, they will be free and available to whoever wants to pick beds.

Touring the Food Bank I noticed a row of volunteer badges and it should be a gentle reminder to all of us. Be of service, as there is nothing that harvests more of a feeling of empowerment than being available to someone in need. Remember the food bank receives no government funding – it functions solely through private donations. The operation is run by one paid part-time manager and approximately 35 volunteers. One of the greatest feelings in the world is knowing that we as individuals can make a difference. Did you know that Carleton Place’s very own Carleton Refrigeration donated the installation and an air-conditioning unit to the Food Bank?
Food donations can be dropped off at Patrice’s Your Independent Grocer in Almonte and Mitchell’s Your Independent Grocer, Giant Tiger, Fresh Co, and Wal-Mart in Carleton Place, or at 5 Allan Street. Please visit their website (https://lanarkcountyfoodbank.ca/) or call 613- 257-8546 for more information.

So What’s Coming Up?

Community BOGO Dinner, in support of Lanark County Food Bank (The Hunger Stop) – Prepared by Chef Roger Weldon of Generations Inn & Ottawa Senators, and Rob Carpenter, The Beckwith Butcher. Tuesday May 17, 4:30-7:00 PM @ St James Anglican Church, 225 Edmund St, Carleton Place. Buy One-Give One: your ticket purchase will be matched and also provide a ticket to a food bank client/family. Adults $25; Children (6-12) & Seniors $15; Families (max 2 adults) $75. Tickets available in advance only, at Lanark County Food Bank, The Granary & Beckwith Butcher in CP, Baker Bob’s & Dandelion Foods in Almonte; Cash or Cheque only. Fill your plate, and fill that of a food bank client too! For more info call Lanark County Food Bank, 613-257-8546.

Family Fun Day, in support of Lanark County Food Bank (The Hunger Stop) – Sunday May 29, 1-4:00 PM, Beckwith Recreation Complex, 1319 9th Line, Carleton Place. Come enjoy the trails, plus numerous activities for the whole family including Guided nature walks; Scavenger hunt; Facepainting; explore a pumper truck and a rescue vehicle courtesy of the Beckwith Fire Department; enjoy a BBQ hosted by the Knights of Columbus, Dr. J.F. Dunn Council #5153. No charge, all activities by donation, including BBQ. For more info call Lanark County Food Bank, 613-257-8546.



A Face of Dignity –With a Little Help From Our Friends

Can You Eat on $29 A Week? – Gwyneth Paltrow Bails for Licorce

Missie Moo — Gwynenth Paltrow $29 a week for Food Challenge — The Reality of the Results

Remembering the Smells of Heaven on Earth —Davidson’s Bakery



Photo-Smiths Falls & District Historical Society

red trucfk

Photo-Jack Powell restored one of the Davidson bread trucks to a vibrant red colour.  I have attached a photograph of the truck to this email for your review. 

From–Leisa Purdon Bell

Museum Clerk/Collections Manager

Heritage House Museum

Town of Smiths Falls



HOMETOWN NEWS  has graciously published this story in their newspaper.

READ their paper online here.

 A strong supporter of the Carleton Place and Beckwith Museum, North Lanark Regional Museum, Smiths Falls & District Historical Society, Smith’s Falls Heritage House,  Lanark County Genealogical Society and Perth Matheson House


 Remembering the Smells of Heaven on Earth —Davidson’s Bakery

What smells evoke the most positive emotions for you? For most of the world, according to numerous surveys, one smell stands out as the clear favorite – the scent of fresh baked bread. I am sure there are days some people still think they can smell the aroma of baked bread creeping around the corner of Russell Street in Smith’s Falls. There wasn’t a day in the past that a loaf of bread from Davidson’s Bakery would not some how become the biggest treat with just a little bit of butter and homemade jam.

For over three generations the Davidson family baked bread, and initially opened sometime in the 1870s. The original bakery spanned over three generations and H.A. Davidson opened the family business in what is now known as Davidson’s Courtyard in 1889. Once upon a time Davidson’s was the largest commercial bakery in eastern Ontario, and it was a place local residents could have a lifetime career.


                                        M. F. Davidson– photo from Lanark Archives


Milton Davidson, in 1906, took over the business and kept on baking products like his father that weren’t mass-produced, or chemical-filled like today. Davidson’s Bakery had the most up to date and largest sanitary plant between Toronto and Montreal. In 1914 one of the latest ideas in bread-making was installed in the Smith’s Falls bakery. A novel invention called the moulding machine which actually shaped the loaves of bread became the talk of the town. The process of baking the bread now went from the mixer to the moulder, and the whole thing was done by machinery.



Photo from Archives Lanark
Not only did they have night and day shifts, but they also distributed their goods over a 50 mile area that went East, West, North and South of Smith’s Falls. Davidson’s pastry and puff pastry became popular, and banking on it’s popularity, the company installed the best equipment money could buy to make sure it was a continued success.

Maybe some still remember the bread wagons that delivered fresh bread six days a week around Smith’s Falls. One of their most beloved drivers was Mr. Johnson and he not only delivered bread, but there were tarts cookies and other bakery sweets. Then delivery trucks replaced the horse drawn carriages and a local Toledo man, whose father once worked for Davidson’s has actually restored one of the bread trucks. On occasion, it has been on display on the grounds of Heritage House Museum.

The smell of bread baking not only causes most people to experience positive emotions, but it also causes them to act, no matter what year they were born in. That’s why the ghosts of Davidson’s Bakery seem to have stuck around the building.

In 2008 Chaps Paranormal Society began an investigation in the bakery building and in one spot the palms of their hands felt like they were holding ice cubes. The paranormal researchers said it felt like a younger boy was searching for his older brother, and there was also an EVP captured of a young girl. Locals have also seen a figure in one of the courtyard windows of a man in a fisherman’s sweater who has also been seen wandering in the parking lot. Then there is a girl or a petite woman in a bonnet that has been spotted in one of the courtyard stores. After all, no matter what life or after life you are living in; it’s always better with cookies–or the memory of them.


Photo by Linda Seccaspina

Right now there’s no place in the area where you can get baked goods like the kind they used to make at Davidson’s Bakery. The heritage building at 7 Russell Street West is now known as Davidson’s Courtyard. In 2003 it was transformed into shops that offer a distinctive shopping experience, blending old and new. Stores in the renovated complex are: 7 West, The Loft Artisan Gifts, Dawn’s Closet, Yoga Studio and Apollo Computers.

Perhaps it’s the memory, and the association of the smell of bread baking that walks hand in hand with pleasant thoughts of our childhood. The Davidson’s Bakery will never be remembered just as a bakery where bread was made. It was a symbol where treasured memories of still warm goodies emerging from the ovens that came with an almost maternal, or paternal in this case, blessing. You can’t beat that!


Thank You Sarah Cavanagh & Hometown News



Months ago the North Industrial Park of Carleton Place was renamed The Dunlop Business Park after a 51 year promise to the Kenny family. In November I posted that  a decision had been made and the name was officially changed.

However in the local newspapers and town council meetings, I still see and hear it being referred to as the North Industrial Park even though the name has officially changed. The Kenny family is also waiting for the street sign to physically change. These past few weeks I had a few inquiring emails, and I wish to assure everyone that Deputy Mayor Jerry Flynn and Councillor Brian Doucett said they would look after it.

In this month’s edition of Hometown News there is an article by our roving reporter Sarah Cavanagh  who correctly calls it –Carleton Place–News From the Dunlop Business Park.

Thank you Sarah it made me smile.

Pick up the latest copy of Hometown News at Independant Grocers, FreshCo, Apple Cheeks Consignment, Murray’s Furniture & Flea Market, MacEwen Gas Bar, Carambeck Community Centre, The Owl Cafe and The Eating Place




Read All About it in Your Hometown News





Local Carleton Place promoter and resident Sarah Cavanagh has an article on page 12 about the facelifts to Carleton Place arena. She also also wrote the piece about the Carleton Place free Christmas dinner.


When Corn Doesn’t Grow- Neilson Chocolate Will– by Linda Seccaspina



“William’s Grandmother sent them money to make a fresh start, so Neilson decided to open a grocery store in Toronto in 1867. Sadly, he didn’t have much luck with that store and the business went bankrupt three years later”.

To read the rest of the article I wrote, check it out on page 16 about the Neilson family.

Now available in Carleton Place–You can pick up the free newspaper at a multitude of places in Carleton Place like: FreshCo  and Independent.



From the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum’s Facebook page:

On page 16 of the new “Hometown News” paper, I discovered an article about the Neilson family of Appleton. Did you know that William Neilson – a local lad – was THE William Neilson Limited of ice cream and chocolate fame??? A quick search of our collection revealed this Christmas card sent to local tobacconist Henry Schwerdtfeger from William