The Village Idiot: Laughing in your face

The Village Idiot: Laughing in your face

By John Hopkins

In his book ‘Sajo and her Beaver People’ the author Grey Owl – widely acknowledged for his appreciation of our First Nations – remarks on the industriousness and intelligence of the beaver. He describes them as “the very wisest” among the creatures of the forest, and “especially respected” by the native Canadians.I find I must also pay them a grudging respect, following the events of last autumn, although I might choose to use words like conniving and devious in my assessment.

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Just Saying: Jumping Jack-o’-lanterns, Fa La La La La

Just Saying: Jumping Jack-o’-lanterns, Fa La La La La

By Shelley Wildgen

I don’t get it. No one loves a seasonal holiday more than me but something has taken a rather wicked turn. The whole Halloween hoopla seems less about trick or treating and more about, well, I’m not sure. Orange light strings deceptively decorate front porches as bodies hang from apple trees, makeshift cemeteries pop up where friendly front yards used to be. I can feel my very soul adjusting uncomfortably while catching a quick glimpse from the corner of my eye as I blithely drive to the grocery store. Last year, the day after Halloween, I spied a girl I went to high school with gathering skulls off her front lawn. Jeepers!

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The Sounds of Stirling: Village Ready to Host Fall Musical Feast

The Sounds of Stirling: Village Ready to Host Fall Musical Feast

By John Hopkins
So picture this. You’ve stepped out on a limb and organized a classical and jazz music festival in the village of Stirling, and during a break in the action Guido Basso appears backstage and asks if he can sit-in with the jazz band, the John Sherwood Trio. Yup, that Guido Basso, internationally-acclaimed horn player and recipient of the Order of Canada.

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Solar’s Bright Future: North Hastings’ Gallo Charts Innovative Energy Path

Solar’s Bright Future: North Hastings’ Gallo Charts Innovative Energy Path

Story and photos by Michelle Annette Tremblay
Through his company, Gallo-Teck, the entrepreneur designs and installs automated renewable energy systems and collaborates with some of the biggest names in the industry. What does all that mean in layman's terms? Basically, Michele got into renewable energy right at the cusp 18 years ago and has been on the cutting edge ever since, constantly upping his game with new skills, knowledge and groovy innovations.Like his solar-powered pontoon boat. As far as he knows, it’s the only one like it in the world.

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Rural Renewal: Live Edge Milling Revives Lumber Trade

Rural Renewal: Live Edge Milling Revives Lumber Trade

Story and photos by Sarah Vance
During live edge milling the bark is left intact and the natural lines of the tree are preserved. Then the wood is sanded and hand polished, so as to highlight every knot and ligament in the cut. Each live edge slab is a unique and artisanal ‘slice in a tree’s life’ - which is then manufactured into functional art and furniture."I can build several tables from the same tree, but no two tables will be the same," says Hennessey.

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Still Standing: Had a Great Time; Wish You’d Been Here

Still Standing: Had a Great Time; Wish You’d Been Here

By Lindi Pierce
In Hastings County communities there are dozens of commercial, civic, religious and residential buildings that were standing on the very day of Confederation. Some are designated heritage structures, carefully preserved as museums. Others are maintained by dedicated volunteers or owners. Yet others are buried under subsequent additions, humble old workhorses who still serve their communities. Perhaps your favourite is on this list...

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The Hermit of Lake St. Peter: “Ol Joe” Goulah Lived on his own Terms

The Hermit of Lake St. Peter: “Ol Joe” Goulah Lived on his own Terms

By Barry Penhale
Established in 1956 and situated on a point of land dividing upper and lower Lake St. Peter Lake, a scenic park whose name is shared with a birch-lined lake and a long-established community has charmed travelers exploring Ontario for many years. Though limited in size, the park’s almost primitive beauty lures many repeat campers back to their favourite location among the inviting campsites.

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The Village Idiot: A fine balance

The Village Idiot: A fine balance

By John Hopkins
Measuring about a foot in diameter and maybe two feet in length, the cleanly cut piece of wood had obviously originated in a woodpile somewhere. It did not belong nestled on the ground among the trees near our riverbank, where Nancy and I discovered it a few days after the rising waters of the Moira River had begun their recession.

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Just Saying: Retirement - Just a Phase?

Just Saying: Retirement - Just a Phase?

By Shelley Wildgen
Cher did it. Oprah did it. George Foreman and Muhammad Ali both did it. They all retired then came back with a vengeance. Lance Armstrong did it too, but we don’t care. Cher’s still “shoop-shooping” it up in Vegas, Oprah went from talk show maven to network mogul and the famous boxers kept returning to the ring until one of them got grilling.

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Everything’s gone green: organic waste facility enjoys sweet smell of success

Everything’s gone green: organic waste facility enjoys sweet smell of success

By Angela Hawn
Waste not, want not. If Astoria Organic Matters Canada were looking for a slogan, this one would fit nicely. Just ask Al Hamilton what his company does and you’ll find his answer rings with similar simplicity. “We’re basically a compost manufacturing facility,” explains the 52-year-old with obvious enthusiasm for his subject. “We take in all kinds of organic waste and raw materials with no additives, blend them and make compost out of it.”

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Gateway to adventure: the magnificent York River continues to inspire

Gateway to adventure: the magnificent York River continues to inspire

Story and photos by Sarah Vance
The York River is a watershed that begins at Baptiste and extends through Bancroft, along New Carlow, into the Ottawa River and eventually to the Atlantic Ocean. For the cultures who share the shoreline, the river puts food on the table. Morels and fiddleheads are harvested in the Spring; cranberries and wild rice harvested in the Summer; and beavers trapped in the Fall. 

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Low budget beauties: the many highs of upcycling

Low budget beauties: the many highs of upcycling

by Shelley Wildgen
There are countless upcycling sources that will give you the ideas and the methods to put it all together and the end result is equally noble. You will have created something that isn’t exactly what it was but still has purpose. Sort of like an ‘alternative fact’, except that it’s real and better for the environment.

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Come On and Rescue Me: Local rescues save lives with social media

Come On and Rescue Me: Local rescues save lives with social media

By Michelle Annette Tremblay
As hard as she tried, Alison Sabo couldn't sleep. Restless in bed, she kept thinking about a social media post from earlier that day. It had been a photo and brief description of a big friendly dog, likely a Briard, named Kevin. He was a province away, in a Montreal shelter, due to be euthanized within a matter of days because no-one had adopted him...

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Community Portraits: Legendary artist Milne captured essence of North Hastings

Community Portraits: Legendary artist Milne captured essence of North Hastings

By Sarah Vance
David B. Milne first came to Bancroft with his canoe and camping supplies on the I B & O Railway in 1947. He was already recognized as one of Canada’s greatest artists. He had exhibited alongside Monet, Matisse, Picasso, Braque and Duchamp and the American modernists at the famous Armory Show in New York in 1913 yet he was still little known to the Canadian general public.

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Building a Nation: Two Tweed families did their part

Building a Nation: Two Tweed families did their part

By Barry Penhale
Settled in the 1830s, the community on Stoco Lake now known as Tweed was originally called Hungerford Mills, named after the township. Later renamed after the Tweed River in southeastern Scotland, the settlement was incorporated as a village in 1891. Tweed was a bustling place when I first began visiting during the 1950s...

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The Village Idiot: Beaver Tales

The Village Idiot: Beaver Tales

By John Hopkins

In his book ‘Sajo and her Beaver People’ the author Grey Owl – widely acknowledged for his appreciation of our First Nations – remarks on the industriousness and intelligence of the beaver. He describes them as “the very wisest” among the creatures of the forest, and “especially respected” by the native Canadians.I find I must also pay them a grudging respect, following the events of last autumn, although I might choose to use words like conniving and devious in my assessment.

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Just Saying: Where resolutions go to die

Just Saying: Where resolutions go to die

By Shelley Wildgen

What was it this year? Dry January? Perhaps a banishment of carbs, gluten, red meat - or all three? Maybe you opted for the stalwart stressing less, sleeping more or sleeping less, moving more? They’re all noble resolutions and pretty doable for a while. The cycle that just keeps on giving, year after year. Clumsily, we climb aboard the lofty promise train out of the winter of our discontent, knowing all the while that we’ll easily be granted permission to disembark our chubby, well-intentioned promises before the spring thaw.

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A Stitch in Time Saves Nine: Lucky Maloo’ s Upcycled Clothing Makes Fashion Statement

A Stitch in Time Saves Nine: Lucky Maloo’ s Upcycled Clothing Makes Fashion Statement

Story by Sarah Vance

If it is artisanal, innovative, and a bit edgy, Miriam Hookings is ‘all over it’. Like her artistic endeavours, Hookings stands out in the rural crowd, with a creativity that mirrors the pulse of Hastings Highlands... In the summer you can find her engaging live theatre patrons in Bancroft. She also enlivens the stage at the Arlington Hotel, where she moonlights as the lead vocalist with indie-band Natural Radio. 

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Time On His Hands: Stirling Wood-Worker Brings Miniatures to Life

Time On His Hands: Stirling Wood-Worker Brings Miniatures to Life

Story by Angela Hawn

Tick tock, tick tock. In an era where much time is spent lamenting how little time we have, woodworker Glen Finch seems to have all the time in the world on his hands. Quite literally. While the rest of us buzz through our days at the speed of light, helplessly watching the minutes fly by, this 69-year-old artisan spends every spare second...

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