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Fall garden tasks: Collect mulch, plant garlic, control rats

As the leaves are beginning to accumulate on the ground, it is time to shift into mulch mode. You can’t get a better material than whole leaves for winter mulching! This fall you can also stockpile dry leaves now for mulch next summer—just keep them dry until you want to use them. Where fall leaves are unavailable, use any materials that won’t get too compacted over the winter, such as straw, cut bracken ferns, asparagus fronds or other coarse garden waste. This month, concentrate on layering mulch on empty garden beds and spreading it between overwintering plants. Plan on adding more mulch later when the first really cold weather is forecast, which usually happens in late November/early December. That’s when I pile on a thicker layer of mulch right over the tops of carrots, beets, celeriac and other root crops, essentially insulating them into a living root cellar. To keep the leaves from blowing off this mound of mulch, lay a few boards or a piece of stucco wire or chicken wi…
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ASK Salt Spring with MLA, Adam Olsen childcare legislation, failed forestry, housing and more

After our Territorial Acknowledgement, 15 welcomed our MLA, Adam Olsen, to an ASK Salt Spring gathering in a great location - the Dome in front of the Rainbow Road Elementary School. (Thanks to the school and district for their permission and to the parents who made this lovely space a reality!) Adam began by telling us that he had spent the September 30 National Day of Truth and Reconciliation golfing. . .and proud of it! He had participated in a Tsawout fundraiser to replace their longhouse. An impressive $80,000 was raised by this golf event, including $30,000 donated by the Catholic diocese. We learned that the 2020–21 legislative session has resumed. Two of the bills under consideration concern childcare. The province has invested billions of dollars in the past few years to get closer to achieving the goal of $10/day childcare for all. One of the challenges faced by government in scaling up the service is staffing these facilities with qualified Early Childcare Educ…
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Obituary: Sheila Zoltay

Sheila Zoltay (Dec 7, 1931 - Oct 2, 2021) Sheila Innes was born in Kelso, Scotland to Isabella and Hector Innes. She grew up with her two siblings – her older brother Hector (who lives with his family in Scotland) and her younger sister Isabel who sadly passed away earlier this year. Caring and compassionate by nature, it was inevitable that Sheila pursued and excelled at a career in nursing. Adventure and exploration were always in her heart, likely sparked from the many books she consumed as an avid reader and her curiosity about the world. Not one to let her feet grow roots and combining her passions, she set out for Canada in her twenties. Landing a post in Newfoundland, she worked her way across the country as a RN. On the West coast of Canada Sheila met Andy Zoltay, a forestry engineer, who shared her love of photography and adventure. They married and had a son (Hugh Andrew). Sheila and Andy settled on Salt Spring Island for their retirement years. While there, Sheila…
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COVID-19: Lady Minto Hospital Medical Staff Association - Thanksgiving reflection, vaccine appeal

Thanksgiving gives us the opportunity to reflect on all the things we have to be grateful for. One of these is the fact the Salt Spring has so far been spared the worst impacts of the COVID pandemic. However, we have not been immune to the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID) virus in our community.  In fact, as the fourth wave of the pandemic has swept across BC, September saw the highest number of confirmed cases of COVID on the island and already in October, we are seeing higher numbers of confirmed cases than previously. The delta variant of COVID is proving to be much more easily transmissible with lower level of exposure and causes severe illness with lower levels of virus exposure than the original ‘wild type’ COVID virus that was circulating this time last year. Fortunately, the mRNA and viral vector vaccines are proving to provide high levels of protection against severe illness from the delta variant, including hospitalization and ICU admission. They also decrease th…
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Obituary: Patrick James Kennedy

Patrick James Kennedy February 4, 1956 - September 22, 2021 It is with heavy hearts we share that Patrick died suddenly and unexpectedly of natural causes on Salt Spring Island, his home of the past 19 years or so. Patrick was well known on Salt Spring for his colourful and talkative nature. He was a great lover of music, good food, flowers, and travel adventures. He cared a lot about how to make the world a better place. Patrick is survived by his daughter Lyyli Kennedy who was the great light of his life, and three brothers Mike, Nick and Danny. A celebration of life will be held at the Portlock Park outdoor covered area on Sunday, October 17, 2021 2-5 pm. Service 2-3 ish, Jose Sanchez Cuban band 3 - 5 pm. Everyone welcome. Please bring your own chair. Patrick’s ashes will be spread at a later date on Matilija Creek near Ojai, California as per his wishes.
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How will your garden grow? Transition Salt Spring launches Rainwater Harvesting Rebate pilot

Growing things need water, and water requires a source. If it's from a well, we're thinking of you. We're Transition Salt Spring, and we are proud to be offering the Rainwater Harvesting Rebate for non-potable water for folks on wells. With our longer, drier summers, many of the aquifers we rely on are under increasing stress. Harvesting rainwater from our rooftops for irrigation purposes helps retain more of that valuable well water. Our Climate Action Plan 2.0, (https://transitionsaltspring.com/climate-action-plan-2-0/) Chapter 8 “Climate Action for Freshwater Ecosystems,” calls for the Implementation of wide-scale rainwater harvesting and enhanced water conservation. Together with forest retention, this will help maintain water levels during our increasingly hot and dry summer months, reduce sedimentation, and decrease the number and severity of bacterial or algal incidents. As a step towards making these recommendations reality, our new Climate Action Coach program…
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ASK Salt Spring with David Norget and Sherman Sherwood to discuss mental health

Ten gathered to welcome David Norget and Sherman Sherwood to discuss mental health trials and triumphs on Salt Spring. This ASK Salt Spring gathering was in our wonderful Meadow on a lovely fall day, likely the last one before the weather gods chase us away for the season. After offering the Territorial Acknowledgement, David asked us why we had come to learn about mental health. A resounding theme was the exhaustion and stress of our struggle with COVID that has challenged the mental health needs of so many in our community. Balancing his emergency mental health professional responsibilities and private practice with community work, David then told us about the Mental Health Initiative of the Salt Spring Health Advancement Network (SSHAN) that he co-chairs. This Mental Health Initiative has initially focused upon developing strong interpersonal relationships and sense of community among the development team, a team comprised of those with lived experience of mental he…
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Is this #GoodbyeSaltspring?

Life for most of us here has been pretty hard since the pandemic. Particularly for many who were just barely making island life work before Covid, the combination of forces that smacked into the whole world has made life even more difficult for many on Salt Spring. "I am living in a mobile home with my two kids for $1,700 a month. I can barely afford gas and food, and I work more than full time hours. I barely get to hang out with my kids because I am working so much just to keep a roof over their head." In the past 3 years of working on the issue, I’ve come to learn more about the drivers of our housing crisis than I ever really wanted to. From the wider trends of what happens to desirable communities when market forces are allowed to run without any controls, to all the ways the Islands Trust, CRD, North Salt Spring WaterWorks, and even private homeowners contribute to our very local version of the problem here. “We have moved nine times. Lived in a one room vacation re…
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