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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June

And what is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days. James Russell Lowell
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It’s June in Northeastern North America and this year we have had some warm and hot days before official summer begins.  It is hit and miss depending on the whims of the North Atlantic.  There will always be random clouds darkening the sky and fog mystifying everything just when you thought it was safe to sit outside.  The wind whistles at will and blows your books, newspapers and drinks right off of the table at times.  There will always be the weather and its whimsical ways.  Recently I have noticed multi-cloud days.  Skies with ribbons and reams of clouds floating off to nowhere.  Thousands of them it seems.  One riffing off the other.  These clouds above are far less foreboding than some I’ve seen.  Under a mackerel sky.  A sign of good times to come.

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If you are one to challenge ominous weather you might just find you may win as the huff and puff often turns out to be nothing much but the sky doesn’t make you feel like being outside.  Just when it seems gathering clouds will yield up rain, the sun shines through   I should go out more often.  That said with official summer less than a week away it promises to warm up and be sunny soon.  That is when the Atlantic stops her fretting.

Beyond that we are in the midst of the June bug infestation.  From time to time you will hear a twang on the screen or a bang on the window as one tries to see the light.  Open your window as I have finally done and hear one buzzing to get in.  No make that ten.  Seems to be a bumper crop this year (2015).  My camera seems to not be working or there would be pictures.   They are very similar to flying cockroaches.  Or beetles.  I didn’t think I would get a picture because of their nighttime routine and my fear of them but but I found one in the garage.  I wish I had pushed it out but due to what happened in the past I may have done something different.  This year which is a year since I first wrote the above we haven’t had so many and in fact many came early in May.

Open the door and beware of being hit in the face with a buzzing brown bug.  Everyone’s nightmare.  Let’s go back to an earlier time.  I’m not sure how old I was but let’s say sixteen.  By then I had heard the urban legend of the girl who had gotten a bat stuck in here hair.  It was June and I had made the mistake of going outside for a while.  I came in to watch TV or something and it seemed to be at least a half hour later that I touched my hair and finally realized that one had become stuck there.  They can be motionless and sticky too.  I was instantly repulsed and fought it off.  Somehow I finally got rid of it as the whole incident was a blur that still creeps me out to this day.

As I write they are buzzing at the screen and I pray for no entrance points.  I wonder how I will shut the window.   I turned out the light.  They are still there.  Why would anyone choose to have a June wedding?

But let’s not forget the forget-me-nots that I saw  blooming on a recent walk in Reservoir Park in Wolfville. While most are light blue, some are also pink and white  There are many theories on their name.  In Greece they begged God not to forget them as they didn’t have a name yet.  In Germany they were worn so as not to be forgotten by their beloved.

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There are also the lilacs.  Oh the lovely lilacs.  Many are purple but in my childhood backyard we had the white ones.  What white flowers lack in color they generally make up for in scent.  Mainly I see the purple ones and lately they have been ready to break out.  A backyard wedding with the sweet mellow scent of lilacs makes sense.  Just get away before the June bugs appear.  Lilacs come early to mid June.

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This year there have been some very warm days but you never know with June  You can always count on June bugs, lilacs and black flies when the wind dies down.  It is tricky to get the right combination of elements.  What you can love is that it is only the beginning of great things to come.  It is a Thursday.  Sometimes when I used to go out I would pick Thursday night.   Busy but not too busy.  A decent crowd with a life who were just getting a jump on the weekend and were not out nearly every night.  You could beat the crowds and get a little pre-weekend cheer.  You look out and everything is lush and fresh.  Let’s not also forget lupines with their purple, pink and white stalks of buds designing the roadsides.

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July and August are like Friday night and Saturday.  In somewhere like Europe many would tell you to avoid it during these months though I have been there then.  The last time I was mostly in Eastern Europe during those months so maybe that was a good plan that only happened by chance.  September in Italy wasn’t too bad and the pool at the hostel was already empty just like it would be in Canada.  In southern Spain the hostel was closing October 1st even though I had just gone swimming at the beach the day before.  Weather or not it is time to move on by then.

Since crowds aren’t too bad and weather is at a premium I would definitely recommend July and August here.  There will be festivals and things.  You can still have beaches almost to yourself if you choose wisely.  Depending on the current you may even be able to get in to the water.  June is nice on the good days.  I saw people swimming in May though I’ve never gone in before June.

But in June or late May you will also see apple blossoms which I finally saw at the end of my hike in Reservoir Park.  Around this time there is the Apple Blossom Festival complete with parade and a crowned princess.  This is a time full of hope and promise.

But here Sunday which is September in my example is often quite nice with that melancholy feel of that day as you have peace and quiet and slanting sun but the sense that the weekend(summer) is nearly over and some things are closed or limited.  You can have a nice harvest meal at that time.  Let your weekend linger and savor the changing leaves and cool air signalling the end of it all and back to work and regular life.  October will be more chill and darker earlier yet with a smorgasbord of color surrounded by the constancy of evergreens.  The end has happened but it is pretty, spectacular and bittersweet.

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I’ve been trying more Nova Scotian wines lately and I am usually quite impressed.  Many types are specific to this area only though they are beginning to plant more European varieties like Riesling or Chardonnay.  I personally am a big fan of New World wines.  Nova Scotia, South America and South Africa specifically.

 

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.

Benjamin Bridge Vineyard – Annapolis Valley

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Not far from Wolfville, Nova Scotia is Benjamin Bridge Winery.  There are many wineries in the Annapolis Valley and in other locations doing great things but this one has gotten great accolades.  Here are young vines in June with lupins in the foreground.  So far you can only visit by appointment only so it is the only one in the area that I haven’t seen up close as I often travel on the fly.

The picture above makes me think of the promise of hopes fulfilled at the end of a long road travelled.  A longtime dwelling thirst is finally quenched and dreams begin to float upwards towards fruition.

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Wine is bottled poetry.    Robert Louis Stevenson

 

 

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I have enjoyed Nova 7 a few times.  Once was a very special occasion.  It shows up at the liquor store infrequently and then promptly sells out.  I remember a fruity microcosm of apricot, grapefruit and peach dancing lightly on my tongue tantalizingly untouchable.  Like the picture of the winery there is a fresh hope of something new.  There is a sense of lightness and fresh starts.  Maybe we can find what we are looking for, even in the dark.  This drink will light the path.   The closest I have come to drinking liquid gold except Gold Schlager.

The alcohol content is closer to beer than wine so it is nice for a slow, quiet evening or the beginning of a late summer afternoon.

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This winery’s products are getting rave reviews from  a blogger in San Francisco who rates its bubblies as being among the best in North America and comparing favorably with champagne.  See the review on vinography.com.

I don’t buy sparkling wines that often but this post has inspired me.  It could be just the thing to perk up a late January evening.  The full moon is coming on Saturday.  Maybe some howling under the stars?

In early February there will be Icewine Festivals and bus tours in Nova Scotia.  See Grape Escape Nova Scotia Wine Tours.  They do frequent tours from May to October.

Famous Champagne Quotes

“Come quickly, I am tasting the stars!” Dom Perignon

“Meeting Franklin Roosevelt was like opening your first bottle of Champagne; knowing him was like drinking it.” Winston Churchill

“Champagne is the one thing that gives me zest when I feel tired” Brigitte Bardot

“Why do I drink Champagne for breakfast? Doesn’t everyone?” Noel Coward

“There comes a time in every woman’s life when the only thing that helps is a glass of Champagne.” Bette Davis

“Champagne is one of the elegant extras in life” Charles Dickens

“Champagne! In victory one deserves it, in defeat one needs it.” Napoleon Bonaparte

“I only drink Champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad.” Lily Bollinger

“Champagne is the only wine that leaves a woman beautiful after drinking it.” Madame De Pompadour

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right.” Mark Twain

“Champagne, if you are seeking the truth, is better than a lie detector.” Graham Greene

“My only regret in life is that I didn’t drink enough Champagne” John Maynard Keynes

“I only drink Champagne on two occasions, when I am in love and when I am not” – Coco Chanel

“The feeling of friendship is like that of being comfortably filled with roast beef; love is like being enlivened with Champagne.” – Samuel Johnson

“Champagne and orange juice is a great drink. The orange improves the Champagne. The Champagne definitely improves the orange.” – Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!” – Winston Churchill

“In a perfect world, everyone would have a glass of Champagne every evening.” – Willie Gluckstern

“Champagne…it gives you the impression that every day is Sunday.” – Marlena Dietrich

“Pour the Champagne and let its mousse rise,like thousands of sparkling smiling eyes.”- Jared M. Brown

“There is nothing more beautiful than a sunset, viewed over a glass of chilled Champagne.” – Jared M. Brown

“Champagne, King of Wines and Wine of Kings.” – Prince Orlofsky

“Champagne should be cold, dry and hopefully, free.” – Christian Pol Roger

“Pleasure without Champagne is purely artificial.” – Oscar Wilde

“If life brings you troubles, drink some Champagne, then your problems will just become bubbles…” – Unknown

“He who doesn’t risk never gets to drink Champagne.” An old Russian proverb.