In the Greening

Most recent trip to the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia where I saw my final uncommoncommonart.  Another great day.  If the summer hadn’t have been so dry the rush of water in the stream would have increased the full sensual experience.  

The location was perfect and a wonderful end to the art and nature treasure hunt.


This could be haunting at dusk and closer to Halloween.  It looked and felt  like an abandoned civilization.


The above photos are of Gaspereau Vineyards first as seen after the gloaming. 

Then Luckett’s Vineyards with their wonder views of the sacred Cape Blomidon.  They also have a British red phone box in the vineyard and you can call anywhere in North America for free.  Look for it in the first photo.

It was too crowded for lunch that day but I instead went to Troy in Wolfville and forgot to take a picture of the vegetarian platter until it was too late.  Oops!  Yum and very shareable.

See resto below-nice Turkish decor.   



Luckett Vineyards.  There is some green in this pic.  

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Sand Dollar Beach, Nova Scotia


    A lovely day at this beach which is meant to be visited at low tide.  It is very shallow and warm.  I didn’t find any sand dollars this year but did last year.  The water feels soft. The place other worldly.

     Nearby is the awesome Rose Bay General Store which is store, restaurant,liquor store and bookstore.

    Uncommon Common Art 2016

    “Hunting for art in nature in beautiful, inspiring surroundings.  It doesn’t get much better than that.”

    Last year was the first time I found out about Uncommon Common Art and I was hooked from the start.  This is my kind of thing. Art and nature-yes.  Art in nature, nature in art-better yet.  The treasure hunt aspect makes it better yet.. A low tech to no tech version of Pokemon Go.  There is GPS and geo-caching but I just get the pamphlet from the local tourist bureau in Wolfville or Kentville, N.S. Canada and go.  They are available around town too and of course there is a website-uncommoncommonart.ca.

    I posted my finds last year in previous posts but I didn’t show you all of them as time flew and they were gone and I didn’t see the point of posting them after the fact.  They say they will be there from about June 21st until the end of October but I am not sure about the end date as I went looking on a cool late afternoon at the end of October for something and found nothing but a scary bird that flapped its wings and seemed about to attack me in the woods just a few days before Halloween.  I never did see what bird it was as I ducked and screamed.  So I would try to see most before mid-October just to be sure they are there.  The sound of crackling dead leaves underfoot added to my terror.  There’s a reason for the timing of Halloween.  A bridge between life and death.  Harvest of life and the end of all most of nature for months on end except the evergreens and year round creatures.

    This year I got a good start and by the end of July I ‘d seen more than half.  They have  been many hot and humid days this year but it has been fun.  Here’s what I’ve found so far.  It is fun to search and explore.  I love finding areas I haven’t seen before but some are in the same place as last year which made it easy.  It feels great when you find them.  A few times the pamphlet is a bit off and one doesn’t have sign but I found them regardless.  Enjoy!

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    As for food in Wolfville I have been going a lot to Troy lately which serves Turkish and Mediterranean food in authentic surroundings with a large patio.  I especially like the mixed mezze platter with lots of dips and pita bread which is easily shared to keep costs down.

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    To ring this bell you walk up a hill behind a house and get the added bonus of reading this poem.  Do you recognize it?  It was a hot humid day as they all have been this summer when I went on this treasure hunt.   The produce has been great.  I just bought some amazing corn, tomatoes, strawberries and blueberries.

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    I have seen most of the art by now.  This one didn’t have the usual blue sign at the site.  Luckily it was low tide as it is only visible then and a long drive to this one and the previous one.

     

      


     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Annapolis Royal – Beginning of Us All

    http://samueldechamplain.ca/index.html#about

    See the above link about the Order of Good Cheer started by Champlain and the alcohol it has spawned.  I have never noticed it in stores but wasn’t looking.  I like the idea of the Order and how it started things off on a positive note.

    Port Royal began here in 1605. But many died from the conditions in winter when they stayed on a nearby island the year before.  Samuel de Champlain was here and founded one of the first settlements in North America.  As said he started L’Ordre De Bon Temps which consisted  of celebrating and feasting which helped them make it through the hard times.  Later he went on to discover Quebec.

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    Years later many are enamoured of the place. Engish, Germans, Americans and other Canadians have gone there on vacation and come back to live there full or part time.

    Today, May 11th there was a story in the Chronicle Herald about Tina Taylor who was brought up in Hollywood by a mother who was in Elvis Presley films. She found this place by chance and she and her daughter are touched by the place. Tina finds herself drawn there more and more.  She got it in the divorce.  Nova Scotia is like that. There have been other stories in the paper especially about this place causing people to pick up and move there.  People will say they have travelled a lot but this place has a special magic.  I could say the same.

    I haven’t been to Annapolis Royal for a few years but remember going in June when they have a festival of short plays. Many things were closed on Sunday but I had a memorable feta and watermelon salad at a corner restaurant that I have since recreated.  It was here and the menu board even advertises it with a raspberry balsamic reduction.IMGP1328

    There was bakery owned by Germans with many sports cars in the parking lot for some reason.001

    I saw Fort Anne but didn’t go there.

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    I did visit the garden. This area has a very good growing climate which is better than the rest of the province.

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    I also investigated Port Royal in nearby Granville Ferry the following year in July and saw  the conditions the original settlers had to endure.

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    People from everywhere have come here.

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    This is so how we picture early Canada.  So rustic and simple yet with a hint of romanticism.  The bare essentials and so esoteric.  It will be hard to pare down the photos.

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    I see things like Rhubarb Syrup written on those jars.  We have lost some of these recipes.

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    Some had a very simple life here.

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    Great light.

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    Go ahead and fall for the place like many have.  Nova Scotia has magic.

    Tina Taylor who was mentioned above said she has travelled a lot but Annapolis Royal really has her heart.

    Nearby is Bear River which is a small artsy place that has buildings on stilts. There are two vineyards in this area which I haven’t yet visited but hopefully will this summer. So much to see.

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    LaHave River to Petite Riviere

    Leaving Bridgewater which is the biggest town on the South Shore of Nova Scotia, you can loop down via the LaHave River which is mellow with many nice houses despite becoming increasingly remote with old houses and churches and buildings related to fishing.

    In my last post I mentioned the LaHave Bakery outlet in Mahone Bay but the main one is found here near where a ferry traverses the river.  It was bought by some people from Montreal and many places in the area seem to have attracted people from other places- such is the draw of the area.  One came to paint the murals in the supermarket from Toronto and stayed.  Others have an art gallery.  See this  post-https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LaHave,_Nova_Scotia

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    The LaHave Bakery is housed in a very old building and they even have on old style cash register.  Besides the fresh bread you can buy things such as pizza slices.  Cyclists are attracted to this route and everyone has the choice of sitting inside or out on the front deck on adirondack chairs or even at picnic tables, weather willing.

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    Next there is a park with a small museum.  Later you will come to Crescent Beach which is on of a few beaches that you can actually drive on.  I remember as a child being on this beach having corn boils or lobster boils or maybe it was clams as we used to dig for them.  Nowadays mussels have replaced clams are they are tasty and more easily found but back then they were shunned and we just used them to catch crabs we later threw back or even killed on the road I am sad to say.

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    Then comes Risser’s Beach which is very nice with a lovely view of drumlins on the hill and an inlet area popular with boaters and birds.  The boardwalk here is lovely.  The beach has full facilities and campgrounds.  I have heard it is one of the most popular campgrounds in Nova Scotia.  You can park in the campgrounds and walk under the road through a tunnel to reach the beach.  At first I found this confusing.  I didn’t know where to park.  Go to the campground area across the road from the beach for free parking.  Unlike places such as PEI, NS beaches are free even when serviced with lifeguards, canteens, showers and small museums.  What more could you ask?

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    After this is a small convenience store where I usually get an ice cream.  At this junction you could turn left to Green Bay where there are cottages, a small beach and a canteen with ice cream etc. or you could go right to Petite Riviere where there is an Art Gallery type shop and beyond that as you see the relaxing river on your right you will eventually come to the Petite Riviere Vineyard where you can try some wines.

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    After that carry on back to Highway 103 where you originally turned off to Bridgewater.  There is an interesting veggie stand en route back to Bridgewater or beyond.  It’s in Hebb’s Cross and called Bob and the Boys Farm Market.  You can also get ice cream there.

    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.