Our ace in the hole: Skunk’s Misery

“Skunk’s Misery” consists of forest, grassland, wetland and watercourses.  It straddles three counties and links to the Thames River. The woodlands play a significant role in protecting the air, soil and water. Skunk’s Misery is one of the few places in Canada where you can find a mix of Carolinian trees, such as Chestnut, Sassafras, Tulip Tree and Flowering Dogwood, typical of more southern climates.  In the woodland and along the roadsides, is one of the country’s most diverse butterfly populations.   The site has Canada’s largest colony of endangered Acadian Flycatcher along with many other rare species such as Black Rat Snakes and Cerulean Warblers. [1]  The stories about Orville Shaw, the hermit of Skunk’s Misery, need to be written down.

Excerpt from Nov 28th Inventory


[1] News release from Middlesex County and Carolinian Canada, Re: Unveiling of Skunk’s Misery Plaque.  July 5, 2005.


Chidley’s Big Arizona Adventure

Our very own Dave Chidley just returned from a working trip to Arizona where he taught a photography class.

Check out his photos at his blog

Spectacular, Dave!

Mary Simpson

Your Wardsville Annual Report 2010

Wardsville Bicentennial: 1810 – 2010.  Honouring the settlers who suffered during the War of 1812 – 1814

thru fabric, film, paint and pen

January 19, 2011

Volunteer Tally – approximate

Number of hours tracked  = ~2500
Number of quilters = 20
Total artisans who painted barn quilt blocks = 146
Glencoe District High School artisans = 15
Mosa Central School artisans = 30
Heritage Spedialists = 33
Musicians = 38
Artists = 11
Organizers and Local Partners = 86
Barn quilt sponsors = 12
Total volunteers approximately 325.  (See Attachment A for detailed tally.


Wardsville’s 200-year celebration goal was to build community pride and put Wardsville back on the map.  Another goal was to kick off the Commemoration of the War of 1812 -1814 (which does not officially begin until 2012).  Wardsville celebrated its past, its present, and the future. It was a thrill to have a government sponsor who demanded that we involve our local artists and artisans in our community and it was the perfect time to commemorate local history and heritage.

Mr. and Mrs. George Ward established their homestead at the request of the British government in 1810.  War was imminent.  The eventual conflict was a terrible disruption to settlers’ lives. Wardsville’s Bicentennial honoured the role that the citizenry played in the War.

Volunteers invested 2500 hours into various projects this year. See attachment A for a table showing the number of volunteers, artists, sponsors, and groups who engaged with the project.   Volunteers:
·       stitched the 30-block George Ward Commemorative Quilt which won second prize at the International Plowing Match in St. Thomas.
·       painted thirty 8’ x 8’ replica Barn Quilt blocks
·       produced a video, Barn Quilt Tour by Crocodile Productions
mounted the 30 quilt blocks on barns and important buildings throughout Wardsville area
·       attracted “kith and Kin” to the village for a rich musical and historical experience on Father’s Day weekend, June 18 – 20, 2010
·       hosted a re-enactment about George Ward and pioneer life in 1810 by Shaymus (Doug Ferguson) and friends.  The re-enactors set up a camp featuring trading post, farm, potting studio, and military encampment of Royal Scots and local militia.
·       hosted the first ever reunion of the Twin Valleys Community & School (1972-1984) which was attended by 80 alumni and their family and friends.  See testimonies below.
·       held a Free Open Air Jam Session at Dave’s Cafe featuring many acts, Dave’s hamburgers, and Bicentennial Funnel Cakes
·       other downtown activities:
TCCU Wardsville community credit union dressed to the nines and in serious business mode.
o      Wardsville Museum with Curator, Ken Willis, and Wardsville interpreters.
o      Wardsville firefighters displaying the brand new Rosenbauer 2010 tanker.
o      Crossroads Bistro serving pizza, subs, fresh cut fries, and burgers.
·       photographed the Photo Legacy project:
o      two professional photograhers, David Chidley and Larry Merrin photographed over 50 groups in a special studio over an 8-hour period
o      John Kendall documented the Wardsville Bicentennial celebrations start to finish on Father’s Day weekend
·       sponsored the 10-minute video “Walking Wardsville” directed by Cara Spooner and Rabyniuk
·       hosted reunions for the Ward descendants and the Lutchin family
·       held a volunteer appreciation event at the Made on Earth Art Gallery in August.
·       presented plaques to all the super volunteers who worked on the barn quilt project
·       held an evening premiere at the Wardsville United Church in early October when the various artistic endeavours thru fabric, film, paint, and pen were shown

Continue reading

Shop Local. Our local economy depends on it.

In the 1920’s and 1930’s almost every hamlet in southwestern Ontario had a general store. Everyone went there for their groceries, dry goods, clothing, hardware, house wares, and just about anything they needed. Then along came the automobile and folks could drive faster and farther and department stores opened in the towns and villages with a larger assortment of goods, offering credit and prices that the mom and pop businesses could never match. Since those days, more than eighty years ago, our rural communities have been in a decline.

Today merchants in communities like Rodney, West Lorne and Dutton have seen the loss of the locally owned newspapers, the feed mills, the flour mill, the egg grading stations, the big family owned and operated grocery and department stores, the jewelers, the haberdasheries and I could go on. Main Street everywhere in Ontario is struggling as the large chain stores and big box stores multiply like rabbits. Sure, it isn’t just the competition from those retailers that have contributed to the demise of these businesses . . the economy and unemployment have had a great impact as well.

The past couple of years here in the western end of Elgin County we felt the loss of automotive related employment and agriculture has suffered as well, so when the service centres, one of the largest employers here, closed for renovations  for almost two years, the retailers in the downtown cores in all three communities felt the devastating blow. Some shrug as if this doesn’t affect them but if you have children, who employs your teenagers? . . . who sponsors the various sports teams? . . . who donates to local fundraisers? . . . who advertises in the programs/newsletters? . . . who supports the fairs and the Santa Claus parades and all the other special events we have come to consider part of home? . . .the small businesses.

I’m not trying to tell you this is the end of our own little corner of the world . . but it could be. The big, bad corporations are trying to muscle us out of business. This is our home and it feels to me like we are under attack. If you shop in a mall there are always the same stores in at least a dozen other malls, all exactly the same with rows on rows of the same products. Owner/operator shops like we have here in western Elgin are totally unique. Each proprietor imprints his/her own individual style, products and ideas, making their business a one of a kind. Those businesses need our help. We as consumers have a great deal of power.

We have the power to turn the tide, to stem the flow of our dollars to the big stores and the big city. By shopping locally we don’t have to spend money on fuel; waste time on the freeways or in the parking lots fighting the crowds and queuing in long line ups at the check out. We can walk. We can not get caught up in the frenzied lifestyle of the urbanites and we can slow down and enjoy the special season here at home in the country with our neighbours and friends. We can live in the moment.

Jenny Phillips
Village Crier Gallery, Dutton


Order Calendar featuring Wardsville Barn Quilt

The American Quilt Trail 2011 Calendar

It’s Christmas!  Order a calendar at  http://americanquilttrail.blogspot.com/

Farmers Wife is Miss January.

Suzzi Parron, teacher, writer and Barn Quilt enthusiast created this calendar using barn quilt images from all over the US and Canada.

Wardsville’s “Farmers Wife” was lucky to get the number one spot. Not only are there interesting barn quilts showcased but the magnificent images of barns!

To view the Farmers Wife go to 1918 Longwoods Road Wardsville. The Farmers Wife was graciously sponsored by J&H Sales, Wardsville.   519-693-0123

Farmers Wife

Wardsville TCCU seeks new Directors




TCCU Wardsville

A search is now underway for 2 Directors for a 3 year term
from January 2011 to January 2014.

Our Board is committed to providing responsible and ethical governance that ensures we remain prosperous and progressive.

As a member of TCU you have the right to:
– run for election to the Board.
– nominate a member for election to the Board.
– vote for your Board of Directors.


Candidates are required to complete the Self-Nomination Statement Form, and the Director Nomination Form, which is available at any Branch Office of the Credit Union
(Thamesville, Wardsville, Dutton).

All nominations must be received prior to
4:00 p.m., Tuesday, December 7, 2010
at any TCU Branch Office.

Florence Chipp-Smith, A.M.C.T.
Corporate Office
Thamesville Credit Union
P.O. Box 35
Thamesville, Ontario
N0P 2K0

Tel: 519-692-3855 x 104
Fax: 519-692-9532
E-mail: florence@tccu.ca