Remembering August in February

Today was the perfect Groundhog Day.  It was cloudy when our wonderful Shubenacadie Sam came out to run around and not see his shadow which means not six weeks more of winter.  Check him out on his videocam if interested.  Shortly after Sam’s debut the sun came out for the rest of the day so it was the perfect mix.

Meanwhile winter is winter and the low sun and coolish temperatures have one thinking of better times.  Today’s beach walk showed a mostly rocky beach and signs that a storm had thrown rocks and tree stumps all over the parking lot in Queensland while also causing erosion from some storm surge.  Have no fear as these beaches are said to regain their sandiness by summer though it sometimes looks impossible at this time of year.  It is all part of the process.  Nature is interesting that way.

I decided to revisit warmer times in August when I went to the Ovens outside of Lunenburg which is a tourist haven.  I gave up waiting at popular places like the Salt Shaker Deli and so far I can’t recommend any other place I have tried there but I got a veggie sub from Subway and there were some Scandinavians in the line behind me who had figured it may be the best option this day too.  Lunenburg is the home of the schooner the Bluenose which is found on the Canadian dime.

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On the way to the Ovens on the backroad 332 between Lunenburg and Bridgewater, I made a turn to have a look at Feltzen South which was a dead end and not that exciting though you could vaguely see historic Lunenburg in the distance.  Before I made my turn around on the quiet road I was truly blessed with the sight of a doe and fawn crossing the road coming from a small beach area for some reason.   My sudden arrival unfortunately separated the skittish fawn from her mother but after some thought she finally made an attempt to get back with her mama.

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I looked up fawn quotes and somehow these were the best ones though I don’t get the connection.  I’ll ponder them anyway.

Laugh when you can,
apologize when you should,
and let go of what you can’t change.
Life’s too short to be anything… but happy.
– Anonymous

You are never too old to set another goal
or to dream a new dream.
– C. S. Lewis

You cannot do a kindness too soon,
for you never know how soon it will be too late.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Take time to laugh.
It is the music of the soul.
Take time to think.
It is the source of power.
Take time to play.
It is the source of perpetual youth.
Take time to read.
It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to pray.
It is the greatest power on Earth.
Take time to love and be loved.
It is a God-given privilege.
Take time to be friendly.
It is the road to happiness.
Take time to give.
It is too short a day to be selfish.
Take time to work.
It is the price of success.
– Anonymous

Life is too important to be taken seriously.
– Oscar Wilde

I’ve been to many places around the world but they are so populated that I rarely get cool wildlife sightings like this.  I can remember a park or two in Costa Rica with an anteater and birds doing a mating dance.  Also I saw a donkey birth in Peru on the side of the road as well as llamas, alpacas, guanacos and condors.  There were flamingos in Bolivia and penguins in New Zealand in predictable places.  But really it doesn’t happen so often, even in so-called wildlife parks.  They really don’t want to see us.

I took my sub to a picnic table at the Ovens park where you can also camp though the area is basic but the Ovens are a very different area.  Some camping areas are close to the caves and must have some surreal sounds.  There is a restaurant there as well.

I bought my ticket and went through.  I had been there many years before as a small child so this was a trip down memory lane.  I remembered the swoosh of the water into the caves.  It was a lovely sunny day and there were boats out on the water.  It didn’t take too long to reach the end and turn back.  I saw an unfriendly man with a fancy camera so I knew this was a worthy sight.

There was even a busker with either a bass or a cello.  I’m going with bass.  Looks big.

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This area is made up of metamorphic slate with seams of quartz.  When gold was found here in 1861  a boom town quickly formed which disintegrated just as quickly three years later as gold boom towns tend to do.  Oscar Young  managed to get the land back that once was owned by his adopted parents in 1935 and this park was opened.

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In this area mariners of the 1800’s ran aground on the reef so it was eventually avoided.

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John Tucker supposedly followed a gold vein here through slate to this sea cave.  The steps can be a bit slippery.

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You will be handed a paper with an interpretive tour.  This is point #4 which is Indian Cave Look Off.  There is an old legend that a Mi’kmac Indian entered this cave by canoe and came out on the other side of the province in Annapolis which is in the valley.  Not sure if this is even possible but Indian legends like to make the impossible possible.

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Scary viewpoints.  I saw a toad on one set of stairs.

Somewhere there is a blowhole.  When conditions are right it will send up surf, seaweed and large rocks up to 80 feet in the air.  I didn’t see this unfortunately.

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This is just a sampling of what you can see.  This area has also had movies shot here with such people as Tom Selleck, Linda Hamilton, Stephen Baldwin and Roseanna Arquette.  Twice cars were driven off these cliffs to dramatic effect.

I still had some time so I went on down the coast to find a beach I’d read about.  It was known to have lots of shells.  It was hard to find but after seeing many parked cars my intuition told me to make the turn and I found it though parking was hard to find.  Sand Dollar Beach is found at Rose Bay.  According to Beaches of Lunenburg Queens by Vernon Oickle, “Sand Dollar Beach is described as a hidden gem at high tide, but the real treasures can be found when the tide is low.”  It is thought to be very unique.  I unfortunately had camera problems so here are some images from the Internet.

 

This is similar to sand dollars found there but the beach is pure sand, not stone like in this picture.

Many people were wandering along this beach with a low tide and warm tidal pools with cool shells that I picked up.  A German family strolled along with an older mother, father and grown son.  The mother had only a bra on top.  Different.  A grandmother and her two young grandchildren walked by and the granddaughter said that when she was older she would get a car and come here.  The younger brother asked if she would take him and she said no.

Check out this video.  I have never seen a live sand dollar before.

I did some seeking and actually came out with some dead, white sand dollars the beach was famous for as well as some shells.  They are so cool and  I felt lucky as many were looking.  The tide was out and it would take a long time to walk out and be under water and I wanted to swim but my co-traveller was anxious as usual to get some groceries and get home and cook supper so it would have to wait till another time but this is a beach I would definitely like to come back to.

Sand dollars are known as sea biscuits or snapper biscuits in New Zealand or pansy shells in South Africa.  They are related to sea urchins, sea cucumber and starfish.  This makes sense especially now knowing the live ones have little feelers like starfish and of course a similar five angle appearance.  They are both like magical stars fallen from heaven though I rarely see starfish anymore.  As a kid I definitely saw them alive and moving.  They were purple.  People have dried ones for decorations in their windows.  I hope they were dead before they took them.

Sand dollars can be green, blue, violet or purple.  They have external fertilization.  The sexes are separate.

Under the right conditions when resources are plentiful they can also clone themselves asexually.  Given the state of human relations at times this could be the future for some humans too.

Around predatory fish they may also clone themselves even if doubling their numbers means halving their size.  They have a better chance of more surviving the attack.   Cool survival strategy.

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Proof that sand dollars do move.
In folklore sand dollars are thought to be mermaids’ coins.  I like this image.

If I’d read the book more carefully I would have realized I should have stopped at Riverport which is a fishing village I passed on the way out.  At the turn off for this heritage and quaint place I saw some nice old buildings.  I have driven past it twice in recent years and now regret it.  Next time as I always say.  Always more to see.  It truly was a wonderful day with a lovely variety of sights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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