A close up shot of peat harvesting from one of our many jaunts between Tarbert and Leverburgh. I can still smell that acrid peat smoke in my nose! This was a common site in the Hebrides, where many people still heat their homes with peat. Here's a short video that illustrates the process.
Sorry early risers, no breakfasts this weekend. Thankfully, no shortage of suppers! I get the odd person wandering to my blog after searching for "Kohl Canon". Since there's the annual Kohl Canon supper happening this weekend, I'll just re-scrape this explanation from an older blog post:
"Kohl Cannon can be made in various ways, depending on whether you are Irish, German, or Scottish. No matter how it is made, the eating of Kohl Cannon was a common custom on Halloween. In it would be buried, well wrapped in waxed paper or foil for today's world, 4 favors. A penny (for wealth), a button (for poverty), a ring (for marriage, and a matchstick (for spinsterhood). Much excitement was aroused, especially among the young lassies who were hopeful that the Kohl Cannon would foretell their future happiness! This recipe is the Scot's Way!"
Also, this interesting Wikipedia entry for Colcannon. The awesome Colcannon song!: "Did you ever eat Colcannon, made from lovely pickled cream? With the greens and scallions mingled like a picture in a dream. Did you ever make a hole on top to hold the melting flake Of the creamy, flavoured butter that your mother used to make?"
"Yes you did, so you did, so did he and so did I. And the more I think about it sure the nearer I'm to cry. Oh, wasn't it the happy days when troubles we had not, And our mothers made Colcannon in the little skillet pot."
Suppers Saturday, October 27 Annual Women's Institute Turkey Supper North Brookfield Community Hall, 4:30- 6:30 p.m. Complete turkey dinner with pie and sweets for dessert. Adults $12, children 5-12 $6, under 5 free. Saturday, October 27 Kohl Canon Supper, Basement of St. John's Church, Chester Basin, 4:30- 6:30 p.m. Ham, baked beans, brown bread and rolls, apple crisp for dessert. Adults $10, child 5- 12 $3, under 5 free. Takeouts available Saturday, October 27 Turkey Casserole & Dessert Buffet Brooklyn Baptist Church 5:30 P.M. Tickets: $10.00 Proceeds for Church Purposes October 28 Corned Beef and Cabbage Supper Hebbs Cross fire dept. 4-6:30 p.m. Includes dessert, tea and coffee Adults $10; children 5-12 $5; under 5 free. Everyone welcome. October 28 St. James Lutheran Annual Soup and Chowder Supper, Branch LaHave community hall. Rolls, apple crisp with ice cream and beverage included. 4-6 p.m. Adults $8; children $2; under 5 years free.
After a riveting evening of watching miniature pony races, I snapped this shot from the stands before leaving the exhibition grounds. My favourite fish and chips stand is in the foreground: Italy Cross and Middlewood Fire Department!
This is what 11 pm looked like wayyyy up north in Iceland on June 29th. Barely a week after the longest day of the year, sunset is a relative term. Technically, the sun set ~midnight that day and rose at ~ 3 am. In between those hours, there was enough daylight to read a paper outdoors! A sleeping mask was a must, I noticed many apartments with tinfoil in the windows. I'm assuming it was used to block out the daylight. Perhaps there are some people trying to block HAARP signals or mind control rays as well? I'm so glad we got to experience continuous daylight as a part of our trip. By the end of our journey, it was starting to fry my brain a little bit. Our first night back in Nova Scotia came with a welcome sunset and them beautiful stars in the sky.
Last weekend was a gorgeous last gasp of mild weather. Camping at Site D was a lovely way to spend Thanksgiving with friends. I am greatly saddened and frustrated by the Federal Conservative Party's gutting of the National Park system. Not only does it impact me and my friends who regularly frequent the park between Oct. 9th and May 24, but also my friends who are employed at the park. Anecdotal accounts suggest that the science research program at Keji has been gutted. I hope that is not the case. Park staff used to visit local schools to educate children about wilderness appreciation, forest biology, etc.. Apparently Environment Canada funding for that program (controlled by ex-Global news anchor Peter Kent) has also been cut. Please consider helping non-profit group efforts such as the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. We are witnessing the dismantling of our shared parks heritage. Their 2012 parks report is particularly disturbing. Sorry to be a wet blanket, but them's the facts.
Somewhere on the A859 between Tarbert and Leverburgh
Isle of Harris, Outer Hebrides, Scotland
June 26, 2012
When I imagined travelling to Scotland, my mind was filled with images of craggy highlands, mountain tops enshrouded in fog, scotch broom and heather and other regional stereotypes. I did not expect turquoise waters and white sand beaches! Such are the delights that await you if you travel to the Outer Hebrides. Well, the Western shore of the Isle of Harris in this case. The drive along the A859 is a windy affair of single track road from Tarbert to Leverburgh. After climbing up the rocky hills from Tarbert; where you can witness peat being 'harvested', you descend to the coast and are greeted with vistas like this. I tried to stop uttering travel brochure cliches such as: "awesome", "breathtaking", "a symphony of colour", etc. but it was a losing battle. I was happy to concede to the amazing Scottish countryside. When we weren't gazing out at the sea, we were keeping our eyes peeled for sheep. Sheep on the hills, in the ditches, on the shoulder of the road and....in the road. As you can imagine, we sampled various cuts of lamb during our stay in Scotland. Delicious! I have a feeling there are other pockets in the Hebrides that are equally stunning. I feel fortunate that I was able to experience this one. I never did get in the water, though...Next time!
Another first for me, this weekend was my first nosh at the infamous St. Norbert's Big Breakfast! Even the people who sat near me couldn't believe it was my first one. But I digress. While this breakfast is hosted by the local Catholic church, in a demonstration of inter faith cooperation, it is held at the nearby United church hall. Awww, group hug! Similar fare as the Riverport fireman's breakfast. You are presented with a choice of eggs (pick a style, they'l probably make 'em), pancakes, beans, sausage, bacon and toast. I wasn't planning on a large amount of physical activity that day so i got a relatively 'small' plate. My physician might disagree with that assessment. Cheerful staff quickly attended to me with a platter of juice glasses. The small kind that you'd imagine used in psych wards. I went for the cranberry sugar nectar rather than the usual offerings of apple or orange juice. I dutifully filled out my order with the supplied pencil and waited for my grub. The man opposite me queried me on my county origins. Once I established my Lun. County 'street cred', we traded notes about Simpson's Corner, home to his grandparents. This was neither his first, nor his last Big Breakfast. I could have been the only first timer in attendance that morning. It was a who's who of Lunenburg, several entrepreneurs and 'mompreneurs' were spotted as well as mayoral candidate Ron Stockton and many other familiar faces about town. The grub was hot and greasy, as advertised. The beans had a nice touch of sweet to 'em and the bacon was crispy. I could've handled a little more 'toast' to my toast, but the soft bread made it easy work to sop up my runny yolks. I managed to get a shot of mission control, though in retrospect I wish I had taken some shots that showed more of the wood panelled wall that surrounded their cooking nook:
All in all, a respectable entry in the community grub category. A welcome way to spend a Saturday...morning.
You are looking at the aftermath of the 6 cylinder class at this year's demo derby at The Big Ex. This car won the 'most crushed' award...or was it 'best crush'? Believe it or not, the car in the ring is not a Smart Car or a hatchback. It is actually a Pontiac Grand Am! Take a peek at a 'before' shot from an earlier post to compare. As per usual, the local boys are keeping the Dukes of Hazzard alive with their tribute to the General Lee in the foreground. (._.)
It was hard to take a poor shot of the sunset that evening in the Outer Hebrides. The sky turned a gorgeous shade of pink as we kept snapping shot after shot. I'm unclear if I was in Strond or Leverburgh. I was staying here with friends who had just been married the day before. It is located on the Southern coast of the Isle of Harris. Harris is known for it's gorgeous beaches, with their white quartz sand and turquoise waters. Stunning is an understatement. The Blacksheep House was an incredible venue for a wedding. Much swankier than the historic blackhouses we visited later in our trip. This one was not filled with acrid peat smoke which was nice. Stay tuned for more shots from our trip to Scotland and Iceland
Who are these masked marauders? Don't worry, they're not viking invaders, just a large group of tourists on a horseback tour of the excellent hot springs of Hveragerði!
The hot springs are an easy hike into the nearby hills. I'd recommend going on a guided tour on your first excursion, mostly so you know where to go (and step) and where to avoid. Take a wrong turn and you could find yourself scalded in the geothermal heated waters!
Our destination was not far from where this photo was taken. You can see the steam rising from the nearby geothermal stream. Upstream from this location, a glacial fed stream and a geothermal stream meet and flow downhill. As our guide suggested, if you find the temperature too hot, simply wander downstream until the water temperature cools to your liking. He estimated the water temp. at 42 C, pretty toasty!
The area of Hveragerði was one of the first areas in Iceland to harness geothermal heat. Settlers built their homes nearby (and sometimes above) geothermal heated waters. I'm sure the appeal of using naturally heated water for warming their homes, washing, baking and cooking was hard to resist. There are many greenhouses in the area, which harness the natural abundance of heat, the first of which date back to 1929.
Visiting this area was one of the highlights of my trip to Iceland. If you find yourself in Iceland, do yourself a favour and check it out!