My husband Clair Park was brought up in Reindeer Inn in Watsons Corners. He is now 87. We lived there in late 70s early 80s with our 2 small children plus his mother Annie Park for awhile. Lovely big house & wonderful yard with big old barn
Hello Linda, really enjoyed your article on Ginseng in Lanark Village. I spent many a day with my father looking for wild ginseng in the backwoods of Lanark County from about the time I was six years old and continued on a more sporadic basis myself. If I remember the last time I looked for it would be around 1988.
My father always had a cultivated patch at there home north of Watson’s Corners and I imagine it is still growing there. Attached for your info is a few pictures I have. The first two were taken in my fathers patch the single root is one I found around 1988 and the last is one of my mother (Lorna Milotte) with a sample of some had found in the 1980’s.
Sure, by all means, I think the last year I picked ginseng, it was about $700/pound dried and I had about $1700.00 for the season. Was a valuable source of income for my parents in the early years (1950’s – mid 1960’s) of their marriage when they were subsistence farmers at Joe’s Lake.
I can recall A. J. Desjardin & his wife coming into Brian Bingley’s cabin in behind the Dome and asking if he could pick Ginseng. A. J. said “he still knew the special places on the property to harvest this crop.” That was years ago and I recall him telling Brian that he and Elwin had some private lots to select from. All sounded like extremely coveted grounds to me.
On our Monday ” Lanark or Bust Backroads trip” Jennifer and I whizzed by the famous Kangaroo Crescent in Watson’s Corners. I have written a few times about Watsons Corners who claims to be the ‘Kangaroo Capital of Canada,’ adopted after a resident claimed to have seen unusual animal tracks and to have spotted what looked like a kangaroo in the area.
He was later interviewed about what he had witnessed, and the story gained a life of its own in the history of the village. Since his now infamous phrase, “I seen what I seen,” Watsons Corners has embraced the unusual title of kangaroo capital on road signs and event advertisements
No one has seen that kangaroo, and all we have to go on is folklore and hearsay. But I will tell you about another one that got loose in 2008 near Kemptville. One might say he could have been a cousin of the Watson’s Corners fella or lady.
A panicked wallaby was on the loose in the Ottawa Valley October 8th, 2008 after a windy storm blew over a tree that broke open the kangaroo and wallaby pen at Saunders Country Critters and Garden Centre in Kemptville. Five kangaroos and wallabies were originally on the run in North Grenville after the tree took down a six-metre panel in the animals’ pen.
But only Wendell, a three-year-old Bennett’s Red Necked Wallaby, remained on the loose, and was last spotted in Athens, Ont. more than 80 kilometres southwest of Kemptville by an elderly woman the next morning. A day later there had been three more sightings in the area.
“They saw the opening, hopped out and just kept hopping,” said Saunders Country Critters co-owner Carla Saunders, who sounded a little panicked and distraught herself. “I feel terrible,” she said. “We just want Wendell home.” When Mrs. Saunders had heard of the first sighting in Athens, she was more hopeful for the animal’s safe return. “It’s definitely Wendell,” she said, adding that her husband and Country Critters co-owner, Gary Saunders, headed to Athens as soon as he heard and he saw Wendell’s tracks,” she added.
The animals were reported missing to the Grenville OPP Wednesday afternoon, but three of them didn’t venture too far from home and were easily recovered. Rudy, the kangaroo, was spotted later in the day by neighbours about 15 kilometres from the farm on County Road 44 and quickly brought back home. As for Wendell, Mrs. Saunders was worried about how long he can last in the cold weather.
Friends and staff of the Saunders had been combing the bush day and night with the hope of uncovering their precious little critter. In addition to the foot patrols, they have also hung towels soaked with the urine of the other kangaroos and wallabies in the trees around the farm, hoping the familiar scent would draw Wendell home.
Mrs. Saunders said the animal had a terrible sense of direction, so they’re trying to attract him by other means, but all attempts have been unsuccessful. Mrs. Saunders said Wendell only stood about 75 centimetres tall she described the Bennett’s wallaby breed as “kangaroo wannabes” and would not be dangerous if approached.
Apparently he was spotted as far as Moodie Drive and then Kemptville to Smiths Falls to Big Rideau Lake at least according to reported sightings. Despite dozens of volunteer searchers’ best efforts, Wendell’s body was found Nov. 13, 2008 about two kilometres from his pen. Other animals had gotten to the body before searchers could, so a cause of death was never determined.
Apparently Rudy the kangaroo was not doing well at all after Wendell’s disappearance as he shared a pen with Wendell. The red kangaroo became depressed and was actually placed on antipsychotic medication in the days after Wendell’s body was found. So– they went out and bought him a wife, and Rudy bounced right back. Nothing like a woman to keep a spring in your feet.
Just in case you folks out in Lanark County should see another kangaroo best way to catch him would be to throw a blanket on top of him, grab him by the tail and drop him into a pillowcase, which would simulate the comfort and protection of a mother wallaby’s pouch. Try that and see how far you get!