Rely on our rainfall!

Now that his power-poor area threatens to close down industrially, judging from the loss of the Atikokan generation station and the paper mill in Kenora (not to mention all the old sawmills that formerly employed hundreds here), what can we expect next if we intend to keep on going and growing?
We’ve always relied here on trees as our main asset, without giving so much thought to the lakes and rainfall supplying all that good wood.
Now, can we get down to the fundamentals and realize that our main source of prosperity is that wonderful water all around us that so many other parts of the world would appreciate?
As well as forest industries, that water is giving us fishing and tourism by the hundreds of thousands of dollars (make that millions!)
While we wonder if we’ll ever get some dry weather after all those late-spring rains, praise them for bringing on fresh tree growth, grass for the farm animals, and all those vegetable and grain we take for granted.
But say our water alone is not enough to induce new financiers to come here, even if they intend to sell it by the trainloads, or pipeline, we probably should investigate the growing need for windmills to generate power.
The idea from Holland probably could be applied here—and it seems a comparatively inexpensive solution to our power problems.
We are continually expecting the government to step in and help while wondering where our tax money really is going beyond salaries!
• • •
Leonard Olson, a friend of Herb Snow, dropped in for a visit as the first person I have met from Conmee, Ont. Surprisingly, because that is a neighbour of Kakabeka Falls.
You’ll recognize Leonard by the huge nob on his cane handle, as if he spends time chasing bears with it.
• • •
Some are calling the current crop of blueberries just about beyond belief.
Our favourite wild crop is plentiful and big after all our rain. They can be found this year in the same places as before, maybe more profusely than ever, and frequently close!
Take a break while fishing to investigate an island or the area alongside any highway.
Around Devlin, they talk about the Wasaw Lake Road, which has seen great pickings in bygone years. Or check closer to home and within walking distance, where we always went to “Blue Mountain” years ago.
Town garbage trucks now drive that road close to Frog Creek, but last year I managed to fill a pail right at the ditch leading in.
Many pickers find fresh patches every year and one is located on the highway close to the Causeway. But for the greatest picking you’ll ever find, driver further to Turtle Tank, five miles past Mine Centre.
There, the berries are beyond belief, as when my parents harvested and brought back so many tubs, packsacks, and water pails full that my mother canned hundreds of quarts.
We would have her blueberry pies coming along in later years when we couldn’t find any berries to pick (mother, in her day, always canned berries for years ahead).
• • •
Those with 70-year memories can tell about heat waves similar to what we have experienced here lately—as well as forest fires that accompany prolonged dry weather.
We are not yet being threatened by those fires today, but let’s not forget great Dance Fire of October, 1938 that claimed 18 lives.
• • •
World traveller Rosemarie Von Niebelschutz came to Canada from Switzerland in 1959 and has visited there almost every year since. While it possesses incredibly beautiful scenery, tourist can expect extremely high food and restaurant prices.
• • •
Harold “Bo” Armstrong reported the fishing was good at Nestor Falls, where he and Doug McCaig and their wives, sisters Marlene and JoAnne, have been spending the summer at their trailer.
Bo, the son of Harold Armstrong Sr., who came from New Brunswick, also discussed his late grandparents’ old home on the Miramichi River, where several of our old loggers hailed from.
• • •
Talk about fishing always brings up A. Jack Fish, the name of a former Robert Moore School principal who was not the toughest disciplinarian you can hear about.
Definitely not as tough as Principal Huffman before him, or the head of a Winnipeg college that Dave Marsh attended where everyone got whacked regularly, he remembers, and 12 times on each hand.
There were always swollen hands in that school!
• • •
I usually catch the American morning news and also The History Channel, where the battle for Passcendale in World War One was recalled.
The Germans were holding firm there in Belgium against the Allied armies, including Canadians, while heavy rains filled the area with deep muck and bodies were quickly buried in it. This famous 1917 conflict was probably most terrible engagement of that war.
Unable to dig trenches, the Germans constructed “pill boxes” of rock and earth to hid behind.
• • •
The History Channel also recalled the greatest robbery of all time—a $19-million heist at Nashville by Philip Johnson in 1977. His story was on “Masterminds.”
It baffled the police, who later learned he had been frustrated by lack of promotions and studied the security computers to get his hands on the cash he carried to Mexico City.
The FBI sent agents all over the world to investigate. Johnson also kidnapped two fellow workers to cover his escape but eventually was tracked down.
• • •
I am a college graduate and, according to a TV announcement, I should have earned $200,000 more than a non-grad before retiring. So where’s my money?
Compared to a well-placed government official or even a papermill worker, my assets are modest. But mine was an enjoyable career, and it’s said you cannot put a price on contentment.
• • •
Meeting Sig and Jean Pearson down from their lake home prompted my memory concerning an incident witnessed by her father, Harold Mathews, who lived by the lake and happened to see their enclosed tractor with Sig driving dropthrough the ice one morning well over 10 years ago.
Harold said the machine was under the ice for up to two minutes before Sig emerged. Sig recalls that very well today, of course.
• • •
Because of her shorter hair style, plus not having seen her recently, I had trouble recognizing Florence Gray, who was a Popowich from a well-known family that went into business here after operating a Rainy River Hotel.
I first met her husband in high school football when he played against my local team in Rainy. We also played Kenora regularly that pre-war year.
The Popowich business moved to Emo first before arriving here.
• • •
Fred Clark says his uncle, Melvin Clark, settled at Dobie, near Emo, in 1896 after that family arrived from Owen Sound.
Fred has occupied the same Dobie farm since 1905 and reports our Ken Munn, now a local landscaper, he is now 81 and still not slowing down much.

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