Tuesday, 10 September 2013




Pine Tree Post | September 2013

The summer sports season has come to an end with some newsworthy success stories. Two rookies from the Place Under the Pines have made some waves in their respective sports. Both, by chance, having the #12 on the back of their jerseys.

On the soccer pitch, Super E recorded an unheard of 57 goals!!! He was very excited to start the season and it showed. Right from the get go Super E was always on that ball. His fancy footwork and pure determination often found him alone, racing down the field, on a breakaway (as seen in image 2). Many of his goals were netted this way. Still, even when he was not the one putting the ball in the back of the net he always seemed to be in the play every time Silver Team (The Silver Bullets as they are known on the street) scored.

Super E plans on playing again next year and is practicing his drop kick in the off season.
Super E | Games 12 | Goals 57 | Assists 22

IMAGE 2 - One of the many breakaways Super E had.

Awesome O, as she is called on the diamond, left her personal mark in the T-ball league this year. She took this individual centred game for a twist and brought in a strong team spin. She could be found gathering her team mate for a pregame run, or stretch in the nearby tree. She was Purple team's unofficial 'Team Cohesive Leader'. She was like glue, bringing all the parts of the team together. During games it often seemed as if she were encouraging others and 'keeping it loose' with her onfield chatter. Though not a powerhouse hitter, Awesome O did hit the ball and make it around the bases every single time she was up to bat. An amazing 1.000% batting average!!! Very impressive considering this was her first year ever holding a bat and catching grounders. 

Awesome O has decided to hang up her glove and leave on such a high note. Sadly, the game will not be the same without her.
Awesome O | Games 11 | Ave: 1.000% | Catches 8
Fielding for O also involved digging holes
 10:04 | Kingston

Thursday, 18 July 2013



Ministry of Urban Agriculture

Update 1.3_2013

Expectations for growth have been exceeded in all areas. The weather appears to have been ideal for a garden explosion. Although this heady growth may sound all positive, there are some concerns over space. As seen in image 3A, the zucchini has overtaken a neighboring strawberry plant and is threatening to overcome the cauliflower as well. An emergency strategic cutting program has been enacted, culling some of the offending zucchini leaves.

Image 3A - Crowding by the Zucchini

The second phase of the Dirty Hands Program, harvesting, has started. The first produce was cut by our eager students (see figure 3B & 3C). It was the 'spring mix' lettuce, specifically a mix of baby romaine, red oak, green oak, and some other green stuff.

Figure 3C

Figure 3B

The eight cups of lettuce accounted for approx 1% of the PUTP's yearly food consumption. This is one of the first of many many many steps towards the goal of being self sustaining. The greens were used to make the flavourful local tuna/lemon/olive/cucumber/mozza/salt/pepper salad (see figure 3C)
Figure 3C - PUTP's own Tuna/Lemon/Olive/Cuc/Mozza/Salt/Pepper Salad

Previous "Dirty Hands" Updates:

Tuesday, 25 June 2013



(Dirty Hands formerly known as PUTPMOUAYTP)

Ministry of Urban Agriculture

Update 1.2_2013

The practical component of the Dirty Hands program is in full swing. Many of the students are getting a feel for the hard manual work of digging dirt. All of the students have reported positive feedback, even when encountering squirmy worms.

Safety is high on the agenda with mandatory helmets and closed toed footwear.

There are many new plant varieties being attempted this year with mixed success.
One new vegetable for this season that appears to be thriving is a childhood favourite - the brussel sprout. Since transplanting the brussel sprout plant has expanded from a small three leaved plant to an ever expanding burst of greenery (see image 1A below). 
Another newcomer whom appears to be having success in our garden is the green zucchini. The Ministry opted to plant the compact 'patio' version, which is intended for pot growing on balconies or similar small spaces, to get the most effective use out of the limited area available. Three mounds with four seeds in each were hand planted by Dirty Hands students. As of date, all seeds have started sprouting (see image 1B below)
1A - Brussel Sprout
1B - Zucchini
One experimental project that has yet to bloom is the 'Melon Patch'. A small area of approx 4' square on the East side of the yard was dug out and boxed in. Four melon transplants were placed in the 'Melon Patch'. Three have since withered and died. The remaining one leaved sprout has remained unchanged in size, which we believe indicates it is not growing.
Melons were a new addition this year, as was the 'Melon Patch'. Therefore, soil or location may be the reason this project did not succeed. An investigation and full report will be initiated as soon as possible.

The failed 'Melon Patch'

 The remaining plants in the garden are all thriving. Repeat favourites such as the strawberry (see image 2A) and the 'Spring Mix' lettuce (see image 2B) are already producing. However, of the three strawberries so far, two have been eaten by the birds (unknown species, but, there is one suspicious looking blue jay whom authorities would like to question). The Dirty Hands students did get a taste of one almost ripe strawberry and reported it to be of good quality and 'sweet'.
2A - 'Sweet' Strawberry

2B - Lettuce "Spring Mix"
Official PUTPMOUA Update

Tuesday, 18 June 2013



May 2013 | Not Under The Pine Press

Here is the ideal situation : Children held tight to parents. Little ones strapped to a parent's body. Children appear to have a healthy/pragmatic fear of crowds.
It is possible to take your children to a very crowded and busy place like Disney World, but a few precautions must be taken. First off keep it simple; get in and get out. The crowds are too big for you to be ill prepared. 
  • You need to plan your day in detail. For eg. Go in, get picture by Cinderella's castle, then leave before the crowds get too dense. 
  • Always maintain contact with your children to prevent them from getting separated and lost. If possible hold them tight, not bruising tight, but, security level tight. Leashing them is also an option.
  • All children under the age of three should be strapped to a parents body in a carrier of some sort. If viable, those over the age of three that are under fifty pounds should also be strapped and carried by a parent.
  • Question all those in costume. You don't know who is under that mask, they could be a cast member or they could be a visitor dressed up. Ask for official verification when a costumed figure approaches your party.
  • Stay out in the open and avoid dark places. Keep to open places such as the centre of Main Street USA and avoid dark rides such as The Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain.
  • Talk to your children before hand about the dangers of strangers, contagious diseases, and the unethical behaviour of corporate media giants.
  • Familiarize your group with an emergency evacuation plan, again keep it simple. Something such as : Run like the dickens to parking lot Donald-15 to our car and gun it home, should suffice.
  • Last, but not least, ENJOY. Take a moment every ten minutes to look at the scenery and relax. That is after a sufficient scan of the crowd and a run through of the secret family codewords.

10:10 am | Florida| NUTPP

Monday, 17 June 2013

PUTPMOUAYTP aka "Dirty Hands"

Ministry of Urban Agriculture 

Update 1.1_2013

The practical component of the Place Under The Pines Ministry Of Urban Agriculture Youth Training Program (PUTPMOUAYTP for short), also known as "Dirty Hands", is scheduled to begin in May. The Dirty Hands program has a tentative date of when-we-get-back-from-Disney-World, but, is always dependent on the weather.
The curriculum may vary slightly, but, a general outline has been drafted.
1) Onion planting
2) Lettuce start up
3) Zucchini research
4) Raspberry fencing
5) Personal garden or container planting

This little guy is ready to get his hands dirty.

This little girl is learning about the benefits of watering

A theoretical component will also be incorporated during this time. Subjects inlcude,
1) Topiary primer / Flat Stanley story / Microclimate lecture
2) Eggshells / Calcium / Slugs-be-gone lecture

In addition, a recreational club - Flower Power - is recruiting.
Flower Power is a non-profit educational group whose mandate is to encourage planting and care of flowers. Community beautification is a secondary goal.
"Come on out to make friends and flowers!"
Official PUTPMOUA Update

Monday, 22 April 2013


Rain & Waves OR Sunshine & Rainbows?

Weather Editorial

PINE TREE POST | April 22, 2012 - EARTH DAY

Water is the essence of life. We, as humans, are made up of about 90% water. It is thought that once upon a time we came from the water. Does it not seem like a bit of a paradox that when water falls from the sky we do not all go out, rejoice, and call it a 'beautiful day'?
Before we have been socially brainwashed into despising a rainy day, especially a rainy day at the beach, I believe we all had a natural - deep down in the base of our souls - love for all types of water. Take a toddler splashing in a puddle as the prime example - pure joy!
Perhaps it is time to think outside the social norms for a moment and consider the unthinkable - A TRIP TO THE BEACH ON A STORMY RAINY DAY!

Experimented Kid on the Shore of Lake Ontario
A recent experiment, by me, with a four year old showed surprising results. When taken to the beach on a rainy day this little guy was extremely happy and full of energy and excitement. He laughed and said only positive things the entire time he was 'exposed to the elements'. He exerted more physical activity than normal (climbing, running, throwing heavy stones in the lake) and did not seem strained or tired.
This is not the first experiment showing the positive effects water can have on human's physical and emotional states. In this case we had water from many angles and playing with many senses. There was water from above, water from below, water moving, water spraying, and water in sight. Along with the sounds of water falling and the almost overwhelming sound of waves crashing.

Water is such a part of us, but, it seems we may have forgotten this over time. Let us remember and start cherishing these moments with water. See you at the beach next time it rains.

8:00 am | Kingston

Monday, 8 April 2013



Pine Tree Post | April 2013

Most likely you have heard the drone of an audiobook, just after the official 'bedtime' in The Place Under the Pines. This is just one of the many new trends the younger generation has grabbed hold of. After the offical 'lights out', a faint blue LED glow coming from the CD player shines on an immobile figure, wrapped warmly under a blanket or two. If you listen hard you can hear passages from well loved children's novels like Ramona, Fudge, and Judy Moody. This will sometimes last upwards of an hour. Why are authorities allowing this extension of time? Time that is officially 'bedtime'.
Anectodal evidence showed that 'bedtime' was not being adhered to in the past. The younger folk were not settling down and falling alseep as quickly, or as easily, as one would hope. However, new studies are finding that this extra hour of non movement time, in a dark room, with relatively low stimulation, is allowing these young people to 'relax', allow their mind & body to 'slow down', and is resulting in a shorter falling asleep time.

Daytime reading has not changed much with hardcovers and small novels making up the content. Another mandatory boook from the Urban Farming Ministry was read last week, Big City Bees.

Big City Bees tackles the topic of pollinators in the city. Urban beekeeping is on the rise (on the highrise) and there are wider benefits than just the honey collected from these hives. Matthew and Sophie find out just how essential bees are to their hopes of growing a Halloween pumpkin. Along with this fun and simple story a wide range of complex topics on bees, fruit, and pollination are brought up. Facts on how bees contribute to our food supply, a discussion on the decline in bee population, tips on helping the bees, and other important and timely topics are weaved into the story. By the end of the book the kids were buzzing with questions.


On a much higher decibel level, O had a birthday recently, which involved fourteen screaming kids. The screams were of pure joy and delight, amplified by the echos found in every indoor pool. This year's celebration was a first, a first to take place outside the PUTP. Due to the lack of a swimming pool, authorities opted for a local rec centre, previously a juvenile detention type centre, which recently became available for rent. The event consisted of an hour of gym time, an hour of swimming, and an hour of party room time. The party room decor was the math equivalent of neutral, one 'boy' tablecloth (NHL theme) and one 'girl' tablecloth (pink), but, overall everything worked out wonderfully. A happy day was had by all.

8:00 | Kingston