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wanted to leave on the land, and wanted to balance agriculture with the environment.

“To invite bats to stay, we found out they needed a roost or bat house.” The Thibaults worked with their neighbours, including Joe Hilario from Lighthouse Orchards, and Aaron Reid, a bat expert with the Ministry of Environment, to design and built two bat houses. The houses sit on a tall steel pole, one facing north and one facing south, so the bats have a choice of temperature conditions. The bat houses could support a maternal colony of several hundred bats. Nobody has shinnied up the pole to look inside but the whitewash under the bat house shows that bats have definitely moved in. To learn more about bats and building bat houses visit Bat Conservation International’s website at

Snakes are encountered most often in orchards and vineyards as they travel between their dens and feeding areas. All summer they help keep the mouse and pocket gopher populations down and hopefully staying out of the way of farm vehicles and people. Avoid surprise encounters with snakes by never putting your hands where you cannot see what’s underneath. Irrigation valve boxes, pallets, and fruit bins are ideal places snakes to hide. If you ever hear the buzzing of a rattlesnake’s tail, stop and find out where it is located. The rattle is a sign that a snake feels threatened so assess whether to remain motionless or slowly move away.

Never attempt to pick up or move a rattlesnake with your hands. (This might seem obvious, but every year people get bitten doing this.) Finally, if you are on a property that snakes frequent you can set up snake hiding areas away from work areas. A strategically located rock pile or clearly marked snake cover board can provide a safe spot for snakes to hide during the day.

Of 10 snake species found in B.C., half are either endangered, threatened or of special concern. They need our help and consideration in continuing to play a helpful role in agriculture as significant rodent predators. The Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance website “Living with Wildlife” pages have pamphlets on bats, bears, snakes and many other wildlife management topics.


Looking Back By Wayne Wilson


lthough fruit processing in the Okanagan Valley has been taking place since the 1890s, it was not until the late 1930s that juice processing began in earnest. One of the first and strongest proponents of making apple juice in the Valley was Louis Deighton.

An orchardist in the Oliver area, Deighton began experimentally making apple juice with fellow cannery operators, Jim Stowell and Cyril Huntley, in 1936. Two years later, Deighton had purchased his own equipment and produced 40,000 cans of apple juice. By 1941, he had entered into a partnership

with the Oliver Co-op to use their cull apples at a rate of $4 a ton return to the grower.

The apple juice label here, (the product included lime juice), was introduced in 1943.

If you have photographs or documents of the Tree Fruit Industry, please contact the British Columbia Orchard Industry Museum at 778-478-0347.

— Wayne Wilson is former executive-director of the Orchard Industry Museum and the B.C. Wine Museum.


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