Backyard Tranquility

Sometimes, all it takes is a few minutes and the fog lifts to reveal colour. Yesterday’s foggy impressions didn’t last long. By the time I had made my morning round with the dogs I arrived home to find the backyard fog had dissolved. I walked down to the water’s edge and was delighted to find the colours on the trees across are indeed changing. A little more red, gold and brown is asserting itself with each new day.

In fact, as I sit on my couch this morning composing this post I look across another low tide and discover significant changes in the trees over the last 24 hours. Could the colour intensify this fast? These are the images from this morning. Just take note of the colour!

It is striking how quickly the vista altered. I love standing by the water’s edge listening to the birds all around. Our resident murder of crows cawing high above in the maple, a small paddling of ducks quickly moves away when they take note of my silhouette making sounds one would associate with cats rather than ducks. One of these days, when the garden is established, we plan to have a bench or a couple of chairs near the water. What a delight it will be to observe the activities in our extended backyard.

Wish I could can the natural sounds to accompany today’s images. Alas, you must use your imagination instead. Enjoy your Wednesday! Best wishes, Anna

October Morn’…

Good morning, world!

Autumnal morning fog is one of my favourite special effects in photography, best of all: It is completely natural. I walk this street along the Parrsboro Aboiteau most mornings, and sometimes twice a day. This morning’s offering called out to be captured in pictures and shared. Enjoy these serene scenes.

May they bring you some peace and calm during these turbulent times. Best wishes for a beautiful day, Anna

Fundy GeoPark Tour: Part 2 – Ottawa House Beach and Partridge Island

Welcome back, readers! I will jump right in with Part 2 of my report. After finishing lunch on the front porch of Ottawa House overlooking the glistening waters of the Minas Basin our next guide ushered us down to the beach where the tide was rolling in. The Bay of Fundy tides are legendary and the highest-ever-tide recorded was during the spring in 2019 at 54 feet (well over 16 meters). Why are the tides so high, you ask?

I have found the information I read always somewhat abstract. Thanks to John and his interactive presentation right there on the beach with the tide creeping closer by the minute, with each lapping wave, I think I finally have a good grasp on why the tides are so high in this magnificent region!

For those who were not present last Thursday and missed out on naturalist’s John Brownlie’s well researched information: Here is a link to an often visited site that presents the information in a concise and clear manner.

Sean, the new director of Ottawa House joined us on our tour along the beach carrying his binocular and birding scope, sharing great insights into various shore birds, their habitats, migration patterns and general behaviours. (Apologies, I seem to have missed capturing an image of Sean.)

We walked along the beach, past the legendary Glooscap’s Grandmother’s Cooking Pots toward the foot of Partridge Island.

GeoPark geologist Caleb Grant seamlessly took over the lead once we began the ascent of Partridge Island. An experienced guide he set an easy pace to ensure that nobody was left behind at the onset and steepest part of the trail.

We noticed an immediate drop in temperature which we quickly adjusted to working up a little sweat navigating the steep incline of the narrow path. The trail took us past several benches, perfectly spaced for those who seek a place to rest and catch their breath.

This look off is one of my favourite spots on the trail. It is the perfect place to look back toward Ottawa House while taking in the mesmerizing aquamarine hue of the water below.

A few weeks have passed since my last visit here and the seasonal changes were quite obvious. I love autumnal lighting conditions for photography as they are less harsh and let me capture subtle changes with ease.

The final destination on the trail was the look off tower. This view has to be experienced personally to fully appreciate the amazing vistas. No matter how often I hike up here I always find something rewarding and worthwhile to return to, time after time. Isn’t it just breathtaking?

Caleb allowed plenty of time for everyone to climb the tower, capture some images and walk around the base to study the map of the area. The group gathered to Caleb sharing the geological history. Partridge Island, like all of the islands in the Minas Basin, is of volcanic origin. The hard basalt makes these islands durable as they withstand the twice daily tidal forces.

I never grow tired hearing about the ancient natural history of this area. Pangea has become one of my favourite words over the last year. What is Pangea? Read more here as it would take too long to wordsmith my own story to construct an informative and insightful report.

I had to cut my time with the group short due to another commitment at Ottawa House… I had 20 minutes to head back along a path less traveled. I ran down the path as fast as the terrain allowed to get to the foot of the island… only to encounter the remnants of a super high tide.

Tidal waters were blocking my usual exit path. I waded through it, it reached up to my knees. My water-proof boots weren’t much help as they stop at my ankles. It was a glorious and warm day… shoes and socks dry quickly in the sun. I made it back in time for the appointment.

All is well that ends well! Happy Thanksgiving Sunday, everyone! Best wishes, Anna

Another Fundy GeoPark Tour: Part 1 – Ottawa House Museum

This special tour was a joint venture between Ottawa House Museum and the Fundy GeoPark during this week’s Ten Days in October event. What a busy time it has been so far but I was not going to let this special opportunity slip by. Fourteen eager participants gathered in front of the covered porch of the historic site to be welcomed by committed volunteer guide Ed Gilbert. Separated into two groups we enjoyed an in depth tour diving deep into the past exploring both floors of the former store turned to hotel transformed into a museum in present time.

The diorama of the former Partridge Island settlement shows in detail the prosperous and lively community that established itself in the 18th century and continued to flourish for many years.

These days the main floor is used as an event centre. From weekly story time gatherings during the summer, the double room has hosted countless blueberry tea events, Christmas Teas, bake sales, dinner theatres and more.

“Marie’s Room” is most informative as it displays large boards sharing historic events in story form covering both fact and legend. The original kitchen turned into a cafe, a fully functioning event kitchen and the genealogical research office complete the main floor.

The deep dive into history continued upstairs with each room featuring a person or group.

I loved the little school room! Just have a look at the advertising on the map… and we thought advertising in school is a recent phenomena!

As a former early childhood educator I was delighted to discover the hexagonal crayons that will not roll off the desk… another invention that is older than we realize!

Our special treat of the tour was the opportunity to step out on the balcony. The balcony is not open to the public at the moment. There are plans underway to change this in the foreseeable future with the installation of history and landscape boards. For now we felt privileged as we enjoyed the magnificent view over the Minas Basin and Partridge Island.

We were off to a great start of the day. The time was closing in on high noon and we congregated on the lovely benches on the porch for a short lunch break.

Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion of the tour. We moved on to the beach and climbed Partridge Island for a wonderful excursion.

Have a relaxing Saturday. May the sun shine brightly wherever you are. Best wishes, Anna

Busy Times

I have had a few busy weeks here but life will soon calm down a little. Parrsboro is nearing the end of its “Ten Days in October” Festival. One of the last events this weekend includes the Ottawa-House-by-the-Sea fundraiser dinner theatre.

We were worried that with rising Covid numbers this event might have to be cancelled but,s so far we still have the green light to move ahead. Yesterday was dress rehearsal time… Here are a few images as some members of the cast are preparing for their cue…

When the sun slips behind Cape Sharp tonight we will be nervously anticipating the delivery of our lines…

Hope to see some of you tonight and tomorrow in the audience. The smells from the kitchen during dress rehearsal yesterday were very distracting and promise a fabulous spread!

Happy Friday to all! Best wishes, Anna

That Dutchman’s Cheese Farm, Home to The Dragon’s Breath…

One of the first local places along the Fundy Shore we acquainted ourselves with in November 2020 shortly after arriving in Nova Scotia was That Dutchman’s Cheese Farm in Economy. The day of our first visit was wet and grey….

Fast forward to yesterday: We were on our way to Masstown Market, our favourite place for quality meats, vegetables and dairy, when we decided to return to That Dutchman’s Cheese Farm. The sun was shining and the time was perfect for a quick stop along the way.

Each time I step out of the car in the parking area I feel transported back to the “old country”. The farm and cheese shop are located high on the mountain and the views over the Bay of Fundy are breathtaking! The picnic area is a wonderful addition to this destination spot.

The Cheese Farm also boasts a petting zoo. We have not yet visited that part as the Cheese Shop continues to be our main focus. Once the grand-kids come and visit we will explore the animals.

Opening the door into the shop visitors enter a world of gourmet treats. The gift shop centers around many Dutch traditions with their ubiquitous clogs, ceramic tiles, dishes and home decor strongly favouring a blue and white theme. Further into the shop one finds a section with greeting cards created by local artists for those keen to take advantage of a one-stop-shop for that last minute gift.

Eventually one winds around to the food section. Besides the famous Smeerkaas (spreadable Gouda cheese) and Original Dragon’s Breath Cheese created right here on site, one finds a variety of aged cheeses satisfying every taste. Imported Dutch licorice, the popular Ginger & Honey Cake, chocolate sprinkles and shavings used as sandwich toppings by the Dutch people I know I also found a selection of additive-free mini-salami sticks made in Ontario (yeah!). A great discovery indeed!

The ambience is so calming and nobody rushes customers to the till. One is encouraged to browse while the cheese maker is safely attending to the newest batch of Gouda cheese behind the glass wall.

We loved how well stocked this unique store is and we have already decided to return and check out the import section at Christmas time…

There is so much to explore and discover between Parrsboro and Truro. And if shopping isn’t high on the list of priorities one can just enjoy the vast beauty of the Bay of Fundy and the ever-changing light reflecting off the water.

Hope you enjoyed this little side trip to That Dutchman’s Cheese Farm! Wishing you a fabulous day with sunshine and warm breezes. Anna

Simplicity: Driftwood Examinations…

Driftwood – a poem by Robin Muir-Miller

The wood stands white,
Sea-washed,
Sea-sacrificed,
And stark in its abandon

To the shaping of the tide.

Bear me, like the passive branch
On the breast of the ocean:
But show me the deeper places,
And cover me there
With a darker silence.

Driftwood is present at most of the beaches and it provides me with a plethora of opportunities to capture line, shape and texture. Depending on the lighting each washed up log or branch displays silvery white, gray and golden layers. I can lose myself for hours in the examination of these gifts of the ocean.

As my first year of living along the shores of the Bay of Fundy draws to a close I feel fortunate to have experienced all four seasons and their varied weather and lighting conditions. I never grow tired of revisiting the shore line of the Fundy GeoPark.

I sincerely hope that today’s offering provides you, the reader, with inspiration as you click on this image or that to discover the subtle nuances these old pieces of weathered wood, gifted to us by the sea, reveal.

Enjoy! Best wishes, Anna

The Pleasant Street Inn

I recently met the owner of The Pleasant Street Inn. Heidi invited me over to tour the Inn and I gladly accepted as this house is one of several we viewed when we were looking for a home in late October 2020. What an amazing transformation this former Odd Fellows Hall, whose members rented the upstairs to the local Free Masons Lodge, has undergone! Heidi was the woman with the clear vision this place needed. The house has been completely renovated to a very high standard.

I walked over to The Pleasant Street Inn one afternoon last week anticipating a beautiful place after viewing the ads on FaceBook during the time of the grand opening in July. Entering through the garden gate and leaving the spacious parking space behind Heidi greeted me at the guest entrance ushering me into the heart of the Inn…

The kitchen is bright, well equipped, the spacious island offers plenty of space for those special breakfasts and the comfy couch invites visitors to lounge while waiting to be served or just enjoy a coffee or tea. I wanted to move into this tranquil and sparkling clean space permanently.

Heidi guided me up the wide original staircase that will make it easy to carry visitors’ luggage to the rooms. The landing at the top provides space for brochures and general information about special destinations the area has to offer.

Turning left one enters the hallway through the original Free Masons Lodge door complete with peep hole. I did not take a picture as I hope anyone reading this post will be so intrigued that they will book The Pleasant Street Inn for their next visit to Parrsboro! The hall way leading to the three unique guest rooms is well lit and provides more creature comforts such as a coffee station and a kettle for tea.

Room 1 is the most spacious complete with ensuite. The soothing colour scheme provides a calming vibe and promises a luxurious stay.

Room 2 is located at the end of the hall. It boasts private access to the balcony with a fabulous view over the inner harbour with its tidal river. I am told that it is the choice room for guests who love to watch the sunrise.

Room 3 is akin to entering a cloud. Upon opening the door one is immediately enveloped by the soft colour scheme and comfortable furnishings.

Rooms 2 and 3 share a bathroom at the end of the hall just a few steps away.

The fully fenced back yard (this is a pet friendly inn) provides shelter from rain, wind and sun. Imagine spending time in here with a pre-dinner drink before heading out to one of the nearby restaurants…

The Pleasant Street Inn is centrally located. Once you park your car it’s only a few steps to Main Street with its restaurants or to the Ships Company Theatre. I know I will be encouraging friends and family who visit to book a room for their stay at The Pleasant Street Inn. I was ready to head home, pack a suitcase and return to get spoiled by Heidi. I hear her breakfasts are already legendary!

I hope you enjoyed this little tour of The Pleasant Street Inn this morning. I know Heidi’s Pleasant Street Inn will be the choice place to stay here in Parrsboro. Please visit her website for more images, information, booking availability and pricing. And let me know if you are coming to town so we can meet up!

Best wishes, Anna

When the Days Get Shorter and the Leaves Begin to Turn…

…Parrsboro prepares for the return of Ten Days in October! After a year of putting everything on hold, cancelling events to prevent the spread of the pandemic our little town is getting busy. The International Plein Air Festival wrapped up only a couple of weeks ago. This weekend sees the return of the Parrsboro Film Festival and Ten Days in October.

So many of the attractions of Ten Days in October include the countless pop up galleries in town and up shore. I have had the privilege of witnessing one of the exhibitions coming to fruition over the past eight months. Our friend and my photography buddy Reggie Tucker has been gathering images since ice covered the beaches, shallow salt marshes and even roadside ditches. It has been wonderful to capture images, talk photography and getting together to select some of these images alongside our friend.

Regige’s exhibition opened on Friday afternoon, October 1st at The Fox Point Inn, a short drive down shore from Parrsboro. His exhibition is the first in the newly completed gallery space on the lower level. Here is the official exhibition statement:

Accompanying our friend while searching for, discovering and gathering the images, discussing the outcomes and assisting in hanging the framed images has been an honour. Here are a few images from the opening…

…and here are some impressions from the day prior when friends came together to lend a helping hand to hang the exhibition.

Should you find yourself in our awe-inspiring area during the first part of October please make sure to take in the many events Parrsboro has to offer. And do take the short drive out to the Fox Point Inn to experience the contemplative imagery of Reggie Tucker.

Best wishes for a peaceful Sunday, Anna

Cotton Candy Coloured Horizon

Last evening’s walk brought on memories of cotton candy, that sugary air, that sweet blue light spun of nothingness… Memories of the six-year-old girl who had tasted the sweetness of air for the first time, which still clings to her lips and disappears when she breathes.

The 360 degree vista was bathed in soft light, with coloured clouds separating sky from land and ocean, reminiscent of tall mountain peaks and waves gently lapping at the pebbles. The magic of the moment was not lost on me and my walking companion.

The crowning glory was the moment when the sun bade her last farewell as she slipped behind the clouds in the west. The perfect ending to a long day.

Wishing you a Friday, the first day of October 2021, filled with peaceful moments like these. Best wishes, Anna

Another Parrsboro Landmark

Where Main Street turns into Whitehall in Parrsboro one finds a viewing platform over the former inner harbour. There is plenty of space to park the car and explore. I have finally taken the time to stop and take some pictures of the Parrsboro Victory Weir located next to this viewing platform. The 380 colourful fish were created by the community at large as a Covid19 project. They certainly add a cheerful landmark in our village.

I tried to select a personal favourite but was unable to just settle on one or two!

Have a wonderful Tuesday, everyone. May this “school” of fish brighten your day! Best wishes, Anna

It’s A Fabulous Day…

…when I can manage two beach walks in one day!

On Saturday afternoon I dropped off the baking at Ottawa House for the Bake Sale and my friend Laura and I carried on toward Partridge Island Beach. We made our way across the salt marsh and enjoyed the warm breeze along East Bay.

Fall has definitely arrived. The images include mauve flowers and ripe rosehips, a sure sign that the days are getting shorter.

With renewed energy and on my way home I made the decision that it was time for another beach excursion despite the level of the tide. I returned home and with the pups in tow we drove down shore to Spencer’s Island Beach. The drive is beautiful and many people call it the Mini Cabot Trail! Spencer’s Island is one of my favourite beaches, perhaps this is because it was the first beach we visited after we completed quarantine last October and started exploring the area… I do not know but I just love walking close to the waves and watching the light change on the lighthouse.

Reviewing these pictures and memories from only two days ago starts my week off on a very positive note. May your week be filled with positivity and colour!

Best wishes, Anna

Integrating into the Community…

…over the last year has not been that difficult. The opportunities are everywhere.

One event I can easily put my support behind is the Ottawa-House-by-the-Sea Christmas Tea and Bake Sale. The museum is officially open till the end of September, archives open by appointment year-round. We are members of Ottawa House and attend the weekly story time regularly. We have learned a fair bit about the local community, the location were our house is and what was here before. We love meeting the old-timers, many who have moved back to the village to retire after successful careers.

When I saw the poster announcing the Christmas in September event I offered to contribute. It was a bit of an adventure trying to work efficiently in my new-to-me kitchen. Much to my chagrin I discovered that while packing for the move a year ago I gave away most of my baking tools, especially the cookie cutters. What was I thinking? In the end I managed to meet my goal and I have since started to replace some missing items. The next baking excursion will be a little less stressful. 😉

I managed to combine butter, sugar, flour, nuts, ground almonds, eggs, vanilla essence, cinnamon, cloves, some locally produced raspberry and black currant jellies and icing sugar to bake up nearly 5 kg of assorted German Christmas cookies. I dropped off 16 trays (each weighing a little over 300 g) as well as a Cranberry-Hazelnut Torte yesterday afternoon. I did not price the cookies and the torte was designated for the tea event.

When we arrived for tea today at 2:30 pm (tea was scheduled from 2 – 4 pm) there was only one piece of the torte left and the cookie trays had sold out for $ 10 per tray. I never dreamed they would fetch such a steep price. I was hoping they would be popular for $ 5/tray… I underestimated the market!

Hopefully our contribution will help with next year’s programs. It was wonderful to see how much the community appreciates events like the one today.

Happy Sunday, everyone! Best wishes for a fabulous week, Anna

The Wispy Line in the Sky

This wispy-line-cloud, as I called it, fascinated me and I kept watching it on my drive to Partridge Island Beach a few nights ago. It looked as if it spanned all across the village and reached far beyond. I was hoping I would not dissolve too quickly and that I could make an image or two of its simple shape.

When I turned into the parking lot this same cirrus cloud appeared dwarfed over the vast open waters and even when I captured it with the tip of Partridge Island and distant Blomidon Provincial Park, as a way to introduce scale, it was visually diminished..

This view always invokes a feeling of peace for me. It has a tremendous calming effect and when I have not had my extended daily walk near water I deeply yearn for it, especially after long days spent indoors on one repetitive task.

I have spent a great deal of time in the kitchen lately. I had offered to contribute some baking to the upcoming Ottawa-House-by-the-Sea bake sale and Christmas in September Tea (membership in this historic landmark has its privileges and obligations) . But besides baking an assortment of Christmas Cookies and a Cranberry Torte for the event I also needed to process the large quantity of apples we harvested last week.

To provide balance to my increased exposure to domestic tasks I attempt to make time to breathe in the salty air as often as possible even if it is only for 15 minutes. And my camera is never far: The view toward Parrsboro from the front porch of Ottawa House can’t be beat, especially near sunset.

Enjoy the view and your Saturday. Best wishes, Anna