Archive for November, 2012


When I was walking behind the barn one day, a glint in the mud caught my eye.  When I leaned over to check it out, I was surprised to find this little bottle.  It must have been buried there for some time, but was still undamaged.  It is about 5 inches tall and has 10 narrow facets.  Its embossed label reads Kendall’s Spavin Treatment For Human Flesh.  On the center of the bottom it reads Made in USA, while letters ringing the bottom read Enosburg Falls Vermont.

Thanks to the wonder of the internet, it was easy to learn more about the bottle and its former contents.


Newspaper advertisement

A number of webpages reproduce the same information about Dr. Kendall and his treatments. This quotation is from J. Kevin Graffagnino of the Vermont Historical Society:

Kendall’s Spavin Cure was the brainchild of Dr. Burney James Kendall, an Enosburg Falls druggist. An 1868 graduate of the University of Vermont Medical School, Kendall devised the spavin cure formula in the early 1870s. After a few years of producing and marketing it himself, he recognized the need for additional capital and wider distribution if the business was to expand.

In 1879 Kendall formed a partnership with Carmi L. Marsh, a relatively well-to-do local farmer. In 1883 they and their two other partners incorporated the Dr. B.J. Kendall Co. In less than a decade what began as a one-man operation in Kendall’s barn had grown into a thriving business with 20 employees.

Two-man teams drove distinctive Kendall wagons from Enosburg as far west as Kansas City and as far south as North Carolina.

By the turn of the century the company was spending more than $75,000 a year just to promote the products that its 40 to 50 employees stirred, blended, ground, mixed and packaged in the Enosburg factory.


Poster c 1895

Bone spavin is now known to be osteoarthritis, or the final phase of degenerative joint disease (DJD), and it seems unlikely that Dr. Kendall’s liniment was very helpful, in spite of claims made for its curative properties. In Kendall’s manual The Doctor at Home, the human version was recommended for a wide range of ills including toothache, warts, weak back and wounds.

I didn’t come across a list of ingredients, but it’s probable that alcohol was a key component, in which case it likely was helpful for toothache and wound cleansing. Opium was also a common patent medicine ingredient. Early bottles were labelled Kendall’s Spavin Cure. However, the Food & Drug Act of 1906 changed the medicine business and forced Dr. Kendall to drop the word “cure” from his advertising.

The B.J. Kendall Co continued to manufacture proprietary medicines at Enosburg Falls at least until World War II. The handsome building that housed the company still stands in Enosburg Falls, but has fallen into disrepair. The Spavin Cure Historical Group was attempting to raise funds to restore the building and founded a radio station to that end, WEVT-LP (98.1 FM).


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Here I am, posing with the Great Pumpkin at The Royal. The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, that is. Now in its 90th year, every November The Royal brings a little bit of the country to the city of Toronto. I first attended the fair many years ago with my parents. Tickets to see the horse show were my birthday treat. Later, I took my own kids. And this year, my sister and I enjoyed a night out together at the fair.

The Royal is a bit more commercial, a bit less agricultural than it once was, but you can still see cattle and sheep and chickens and prize-winning pumpkins and many other great displays. This pumpkin from St. Thomas, Ontario took first place in the largest pumpkin contest, weighing in at 1414.6 pounds.


This piggy on his scooter took first prize in the butter-carving contest.


All the enteries were well-done. I particularly liked this goose.


The third place entry presented an interesting juxtaposition of babies.


After we had had a good look around the displays, we moved on to the horse show.


The horse show offers a good assortment of classes. On the night we attended, we saw the six-horse percheron class. I was pleased that a team from my region, the Wilson’s of Vankleek Hill, took second place against stiff competition.


The coach-and-four class is a spectacle you don’t have a chance to see most anywhere else.


This year, there was an exhibition by the Lit Dressage Quadrille, who performed to James Bond theme music. You can watch the whole performance, complete with music, on Youtube, linked here.


The 48th Highlanders were on hand for a brief Remembrance Day ceremony.


The highlight of the horse show evening is always the international jumping class. On the evening we attended, the $50,000 Weston Canadian Open was featured. This is a timed event in which horses must jump a challenging course of huge fences. The best combination of low faults and time secures first place. The winner was young American rider Kent Farrington and his horse Voyeur, who had one of just 5 clear rounds in the field of 18 entries, and a blazing time. As the winners, Kent and Voyeur took home $16,500. You can read more about the class here.

I forgot to take my camera. Doh! Thanks to my sister for allowing me to use her photos and sharing a fun evening with me.


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I woke up on Monday morning to a blanket of snow glistening in the sun. It took me by surprise, probably because I dozed through the evening weather report the night before. It was also a bit surprising because, up until the weekend, we had been enjoying a stretch of beautiful mild days, Indian Summer.


The corgis were quite delighted with the change in the landscape, and set about galloping to and fro. Remy and Pookie (whose name has been officially upgraded to the less sissified Macy) are the grandogs, visiting for the week. They’re sturdy little dogs, really more big dogs on short legs, and their thick coats keep them warm regardless of how cold the weather is.


We went down to the barn together to feed the horses. Well, me and Remy went down to the barn. Pookie takes a dim view of these large creatures and prefers to wait at the house. Teddy was glad to see us. Like any strapping young fellow, he loves his food and if patient waiting fails to bring me, he calls to me in his mournful donkey voice, “I’m hungry! Come feed me!”


Older and more rotund, Louis isn’t as concerned about breakfast but once it arrives, he joins the others.


Here’s Czarina, with the morning sun lighting up the red highlights in her chestnut coat.


Once the horses were fed, the dogs and I took a little stroll down the laneway. Just on Sunday, the snowplowing contractor stopped by to mount orange marker posts along the roadway. I don’t know if he is paid by the job or by the season. If the former, I imagine he is hoping for a snowy winter. I’m hoping for enough snow to protect my garden from temperature shifts.


Here’s the cornfield nest door, looking like a choppy sea of white waves. The sun felt warm and the air was still and quiet, but the thermometer read -5 C and the snow didn’t melt away.


And here’s the car. Winter means snowbrushes and ice scrapers for northern drivers but this little dusting of snow was easily brushed away. Hopefully, it will be a few weeks before we have anything more bothersome to contend with.


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All You Need


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If everyone on the planet consumed as much materially as we do in North America we’d need another four planets to provide for it. With just 5% of the world’s population we consume a full 33% of the world’s resources. We live in an addictive society. Each one of us is exposed to 4,000 ads every day (TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, billboards, etc) each one of them telling us that we are deficient unless we have whatever is being sold. But we are not human havings, we are human beings. ~ source unknown

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Evening Treeline

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Reflected Sky

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Brockville Memorial

When shall all men’s good be each man’s rule, and universal peace lie like a shaft of light across the land? ~ Tennyson

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Last winter, I used to see a trio of ostriches when I followed the road north to visit Ponygirl. I wrote about them in a post titled Farm Animals, linked here. I haven’t been that way in a while, as Ponygirl has moved to a new location. So this week, when an expedition took me by their field again, I had an eye out for the ostriches.


There was no sign of the ostriches, but I slammed on the brakes and pulled over when I spotted these two big birds, pacing the fenceline. Emus! The ostriches were very nervous birds, and always huddled far away across the field if you stopped your car. But the Emus were not so inclined at all. The pair of them followed the fenceline down to where I was parked to check me out.


Emus are the second-tallest birds in the world and may reach up to 2 metres in height. According to Wikipedia, their legs are among the strongest of any animal, allowing them to rip metal wire fences. This pair seemed disinclined to rip their way to freedom, probably a good thing. Emus are sometimes raised for food, so I don’t know if these two birds represent a commercial enterprise or are strictly pets.

Their feather structure is designed to protect them from the hot sun of their native Australia but they can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. The Ottawa winter will soon test their cold hardiness.


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An excellent article in BusinessWeek begins:

Yes, yes, it’s unsophisticated to blame any given storm on climate change. Men and women in white lab coats tell us—and they’re right—that many factors contribute to each severe weather episode. Climate deniers exploit scientific complexity to avoid any discussion at all.

Clarity, however, is not beyond reach. Hurricane Sandy demands it: At least 40 U.S. deaths. Economic losses expected to climb as high as $50 billion. Eight million homes without power. Hundreds of thousands of people evacuated. More than 15,000 flights grounded. Factories, stores, and hospitals shut. Lower Manhattan dark, silent, and underwater.

An unscientific survey of the social networking literature on Sandy reveals an illuminating tweet (you read that correctly) from Jonathan Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota. On Oct. 29, Foley thumbed thusly: “Would this kind of storm happen without climate change? Yes. Fueled by many factors. Is storm stronger because of climate change? Yes.” Eric Pooley, senior vice president of the Environmental Defense Fund (and former deputy editor of Bloomberg Businessweek), offers a baseball analogy: “We can’t say that steroids caused any one home run by Barry Bonds, but steroids sure helped him hit more and hit them farther. Now we have weather on steroids.”

To read the full article, click here.

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