Thursday, August 27, 2015

Dear Nova Scotia

Dear Nova Scotia,
How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.  I love thee from shore to shore, sunrise to sunset and everything in between.

I love your rocky shores and extreme tides.  They are unlike anything I've ever seen before.
When high tide looks  like this.....
and low tide looks like this!

 I love that there are shores you can sit on and enjoy a day at the beach and shores that are so rocky they can only be enjoyed from afar.

Definitely enjoying this view!
I love that some days can be hopelessly dreary and cloudy and leave me feeling a little sluggish until evening comes and suddenly, as if Moses parted the clouds, a beautiful sky appears just in time for the sun to set and I forget all about the dreary day.

A cloudy day that ended well.  
I love the fact that I come here with my "real life" baggage and in a matter of days I am reset to a healthier, simpler life.  Not everyone has the opportunity to get back to what is really important and let go of all the clutter in their mind and their life.  I feel very lucky to have this place as my reset button every year.

I love your miles and miles of rugged coastline, green fields, forests and farms.  I love that there are cities to explore and enjoy the finer things in life and charming rural villages to appreciate the simple things in life.  I've had the pleasure to see both sides.
Enjoying the good life in Halifax!

Tatamagouche, one of the quaint towns in the area. 
I've said it before and I'll say it again, people in Nova Scotia are creative!  There are arts and crafts all around the province.  Aside from all of the Scotia Women I know, who inspire me with their craftiness, there are some very good artists in the province.  I love visiting Bass River to see this lovely artist, even though all I can afford to do is look at her paintings and maybe buy a postcard or note card.  The drive is scenic and the gallery is lovely.  Not a year goes by without a visit to Sara Bonnyman , where I have purchased all of my favorite pottery.  I use it every day up here!  I find myself wondering why I don't have any of it in my real life in Houston.  Someday.....

I love your music!  My life would be very different if I had never heard The Rankin Family.  I can thank them for some of my favorite experiences ever!  One in particular reoccurs every year during the games.  It has also happened at each of the weddings of my three married children.  There is something joyous and overwhelming that happens when all of your favorite people circle around on the dance floor and The Mull River Shuffle begins with it's infectious piano banging and reeling fiddle!
Here is an ode to The Mull River Shuffle.....Amherst Shore version.

 "Picture this ladies and gentlemen..."
It's the first weekend in August in a small seaside community
At Lesley Brown's "barn".
It's Sunday night...
You've just finished a weekend of back breaking games
And you left it all on the field.... and on the sandbars.
You're standing around on the the dance floor
under the dim light of the "barn".
Everyone is laughing and joking and telling stories...
about their athletic prowess.
You're halfway through a case of......Kieth's IPA....
And you're getting aaaalllll fired up.....for the dance!

Finally, Nova Scotia, I love exploring your many shores.  I've been to the Annapolis Valley and seen the rolling hills and vineyards.  I've seen the Fundy Shore, Five Islands and Cape d'Or.  I've driven many of the miles along the Northumberland Shore.  But possibly my favorite drive is the Cabot Trail.  I am transported to another country when I visit Cape Breton.  Our visit last weekend only confirmed that it truly is a magnificent drive.

Where the golf courses look like this....
The scenery looks like this...
The highways never cease to amaze...
And sunset is worth the wait.
Nova Scotia, I look forward to discovering more reasons to fall in love with you!  Thanks for the rainy day to spend writing and the sunshine that followed.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Local Goodness

One of the great things, and there are many, about being at the farmhouse all summer is the fact that I can eat an entire meal that has come from a person or place I know.  This place makes eating local easy.  I read the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver a few years ago and marveled at her family's discipline while living an entire year eating only food they grew or that was grown or raised within 100 miles.  ( a rough synopsis, sorry Mrs. Kingsolver).  It was such a great book that my husband and several of my children also read it. We all related to our wonderful summers here in rural Nova Scotia and the fresh foods we are lucky enough to eat while we are here.  It's a great book, I highly recommend  it!

I'll be one of the first people to admit that my diet could use a little tweeking.  I enjoy my share of sugar, fat,  processed foods and wine.   Up here I'm able to change to a healthier one, in spite of my attraction to Cheetos and cookies.  I try most of the time to eat a balanced diet, but am by no means fanatical about it, I'm not fanatical about much....except maybe sunsets.

All natural, locally produced, gluten free, dairy free... sunset!
My sister (the one I share a brain with) and I took a little road trip last weekend and somewhere between the farmer's market, the brewery, the winery and the oyster farm it hit me that we are able to eat locally for much of the summer.   The bacon and eggs we ate for breakfast were bought from someone down the road and the lobster is from the guy up the road who has his own lobster boat and caught them that day.  The lettuce in the salad was harvested in the backyard along with the carrots, beets, potatoes, zucchini, onions, beans, peas, and all the herbs we enjoy most of the summer.  Cooking dinner involves finding some protein, which I'll admit, much of it has been bought at the store, and going into the garden to see what needs to be picked.  Although, there are some occasions that the protein has been bought from the farmer up the road or a local fisherman or oyster farmer nearby.  It just has to be healthier, right?

The road between oysters and wine.

On our little field trip we went to the farmer's market where my sister bought some vegetables and  I bought farm fresh eggs.  We tasted maple cream, a delicious fudge-like substance that is pure goodness!  I refrained from buying any though, just what I don't need...pure, temptingly delicious sugar to snack on all day.  We bought some pottery from a local woman.  I also bought a meringue baked by another local person... I'm not a saint.  This market is something I wish we had where I live.  Yes, we have a farmer's market, but the produce is no where near the caliber of the produce grown up here in heaven!

This just makes me want to cook....and eat!

This is where the oysters grew up.....
Speaking of of our, now traditional,  evenings involves oysters and croquet.  We have found a new place, very nearby, to buy oysters.  You know they are fresh when you call in the morning, place your order, and the lady on the phone says, "Thanks, I'll go out in the boat and get them!".  We had our oysters with freshly processed horseradish from a neighbor's garden.  Super delicious!  We played croquet, ate oysters, drank beer from a nearby brewery and wine from the winery near the oyster farm.  Can't get any more local than that!
Playing croquet in the yard!  A new family tradition.
This is where we ate the delicious oysters!
One cute couple in the croquet photo booth!

The local brewery where we bought our beer!
Pure Tatamagoodness!
The grapes at Jost Winery where we bought
several bottles of wine!
We also enjoyed a couple glasses of Sangria.....
because it was hot and there was live music...and
the sun was shining!
One more example of a totally local meal.  Last night, we were having lobster for dinner with the same sister and her boys.  She picked the lobster up at the dock, right out of the fisherman's boat!  They were a bargain too, if you ask me.  We served the lobster with the best butter in the world, made in Nova Scotia.  The side dishes were carrots and beans from the local farmer's market.  Can't get any more local than that! bet!


He can't wait to jump into that Tatamagouche butter bath!
Breakfast, lunch and dinner.....the best butter ever!
Cholesterol?  What cholesterol?
Since there are very few options, as far as dining out around here, I am very thankful for the bounty mother nature has provided for us in the summers up here.  Grocery shopping is very different when you virtually pass the produce department.  It feels very strange to pass up so many of my weekly purchases.  I still buy a few items though, because try as we may, we can't grow avocados and bananas up here!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Going Back

The Reunion
couple few weeks ago, I spent a week at my parents house, sleeping in my old bedroom and roaming the same streets I did 40 years ago.  If you want to feel old and young all at the same time try it someday.  I was there all by myself, no husband, no kids and no dog.  Just like back in high school... just a lot older.  I was home to help my parents through a transition after my Dad fell and broke his hip and fractured his neck.  (You will just have to read all about that in my book, I'll just say he and George Bush have something in common now.).  My 40th high school reunion happened to be on the weekend during my visit.  Months ago when the event was planned and Dad was much healthier, I resigned myself to not being able to attend since the dates were during concentrated family time in Nova Scotia.  We plan and God laughs.

It didn't take me long to decide I would attend the reunion once I realized I would actually be in town!  It turned out to be a huge bright spot in an otherwise challenging week.  When my husband had his 40th reunion I was so impressed and inspired, after reluctantly attending, that I wrote about it here.  Everything I said about his reunion held true for mine, go about it, I'll wait.  I vowed to attend my own when the time came and through some unfortunate circumstances in spite of my best laid plans, I was able to attend.

My class reunion was just as great as I had hoped, it was so much fun to see so many old friends and to catch up on everyone's lives.  I only wish I could have caught up even more with some people.  Let me just say, it's hard to dress to impress people you haven't seen for 40 years with beads of sweat dripping down your face and wet hair glued to your forehead and neck.  July is not the ideal time to be in southern Louisiana! There is no amount of air conditioning  that can over come temperatures in the high 90's down here!  At least we were all in the same hot sweaty boat!

So much fun hanging out with these ladies!
 This was the first time that I have gone away during my summer months at the shore for more than a weekend.  As much fun as the reunion was, I sure do appreciate this place even more after a very hot week in Baton Rouge.

Thanks for the memories class of '75!

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