Thursday, June 24, 2010

An afternoon in Broad Cove

Yesterday we had an errand to run in Lunenburg. So we popped the dogs in the car (as usual) and off we went. Once we were done in Lunenburg, we took the Lighthouse Route to the LaHave cable ferry. We ferried across the LaHave in the fog, and were told that the fog had come and gone 4 times during the morning. Here was our destination for lunch:The Best Coast Coffee Gallery in Broad Cove. I have wanted to try this little restaurant for 2 summers now, but haven't been able to until now. They are only open a short time each year, but still manage to make it into the "Where To Eat In Canada" guide.
Fresh flowers on the table...the roses smelled heavenly.Art on the walls...The whole place was a feast for the eyes! The food was excellent. I had an asparagus "fallen souffle" (aka quiche) and salad, with warm biscuits. John had a Broad Cove club with salad. We also splurged and had dessert (but we were good and we shared).I noticed this on the way out:A plastic bag hanging in the window, filled with water, with 2 pennies inside. I just had to ask....what is this? Apparently the owner read about this in a magazine...it's to keep the flies away from the windows. They say it works.
After lunch, we took the girls to the Broad Cove Beach.Cassie loves to fetch her floating Kong. And...wonder of wonders...Mulligan actually went in the water deep enough to get her tummy wet.
Another wonderful day!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

more about guineas

Flashback to two weeks ago....before we picked up our two new batches of keets. We had five guineas...four of them were from our original batch that we raised from day old keets two years ago. The fifth guinea was given to us by our neighbour last fall. Our "big boss" guinea went missing during the afternoon and I thought he must have been someone's meal. I was overjoyed (no, I'm not exaggerating) when I found him by our shed when I went outside to put all the guineas in the coop for the night. Then I noticed that something was wrong. He had his beak open and was gasping for breath. He did follow me down the hill and into the coop, but keeled over and died. I was very upset and shed some tears (I will never attempt to be a farmer!).

So the timing of picking up our keets last week was very good! Here is the set up needed for raising very young keets:A small box or bin, with a light to keep them warm, water, and food (turkey starter). Here is the gang of 8:Yesterday I showed the larger white keet, with just the ribs of his wings. It took just a few days, but his wings now have feathers and he's growing feathers on his back too.I say "he" but really we won't know what sex they are until they get older. The only way I know how to tell the difference is by the sound they make. Right now they are just "peepers", but they will get to be very loud and noisy birds! The males only make one sound, and the females can make the same sound as the males, as well as a different call. All our large guineas are males, so we're hoping that some of the keets are females.

Unfortunately, our 8 keets are now only 7. Yes....we've lost one already. It was evident the day after we picked up the second batch that one of them was sick. I spent Thursday keeping the keet in a pouch next to me to try to keep him warm. I spoon fed him water to keep him hydrated. I also phoned the people we bought them from to see if they could give me more advice. Apparently sometimes their bottoms get plugged up, so you have to check to make sure their bums are clean. I never thought I'd see the day that I'd be washing a chicken's bum!! Anyway, his little bum was fine. He perked up a little on Friday, but died overnight.

But...life goes on and the 7 remaining keets are doing great. They have already graduated to a larger cage. I was told to use carpet on the bottom on their cage...and I did try it, but the poor little guys were getting their toenails stuck in the carpet and were unable to move! So the carpet was removed, and I won't be doing that again.

They'll stay in a cage in our shed with a light to keep them warm for the next week, and then we'll move them down to the coop. We'll keep them seperated from the larger guineas for 6 weeks in total. By the end of July, the new batch should be ready for the great outdoors. It won't take them long to go from cute little keets to ugly as sin guineas!

Monday, June 21, 2010

new additions to the family

Local legend around here says that guinea fowl help reduce the number of bugs on your property...specifically locals use guineas to help eliminate ticks. When we moved here two years ago, we immediately raised some guineas from day old keets but our numbers have been dwindling and we were down to five guineas this spring. I saw an ad in the local paper in April and ordered 8 keets. They were finally ready to be picked up last week, and as luck would have it, our granddaughter Miss M was visiting. So G, DIL, and Miss M joined John and I for the "keet pick up". Here is Miss M catching the keets in a net:The owner, Belinda, shows us the difference between a guinea keet (on the left) and a baby pheasant:We spent a lovely hour or so touring around Belinda and Kerry's property and then it was time to load our new baby keets in the car for the ride home. We picked up 5 on Sunday, and then 3 more were ready on Wednesday. Two of our keets are "Jumbo Whites"...below is a photo of Belinda calling her Jumbo Whites by shaking a food cannister. And I thought I was the only one who could get my guineas to come running to me! Here's a close up of our first 5 keets. Notice the larger white one already has his wings developing...no feathers on the wings at this point.And a shot of the group of 5:Quite a size difference...not sure what the age difference is. The 3 we picked up on Wednesday pecked out of their shells on Monday, so they were 2 days old when we picked them up...and about the size of the little one on the left in the above photo.

It's been a busy week with the 8 new additions. More guinea stories tomorrow.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tuesday's Tour

On Tuesday it was time to hit the road for one of our day excursions. Which direction to go? We settled on the south-west corner of Nova Scotia. Given that we only had one day, we hopped on the "fast highway" to take us down...then turned off at Barrington Passage and stuck to back roads. Our starting place was going to be Cape Sable Island, but we travelled a bit farther down the road...around up the south-west corner and stopped in Woods Harbour.I love the bright buoys on the fishing boats. The wind was blowing so hard that, believe it or not, it was difficult to get a perfectly focused photo!Our next brief stop was in Shag Harbour...home of the 1967 UFO Incident. Below is the gazebo with an information sign posted:"The Shag Harbour UFO Incident occurred during the night of October 4, 1967. Several local residents reported seeing something in the air that night over waters off Shag Harbour and believed the object crashed into the water.
The sighting was reported to the local RCMP who responded to the scene near the Moss Plant in Shag Harbour. In spite of searching the area into the early morning hours, no evidence of any craft was found.
The incident was witnessed by many local people and recorded or reported by the RCMP, The Royal Canadian Air Force and The Rescue Coordination Centre.
A book titled "Dark Object" has been written about the incident and a commemorative stamp has been issued by the Shag Harbour Post Office."

There is a museum dedicated to this event, but we didn't stop there...I'm not much of a museum person. We headed back towards Cape Sable Island, and stopped for lunch (fish and chips for me, a hot lobster sandwich and fries for John). When we got into the car to leave, I noticed something strange in the garbage cans behind the restaurant. A seagull had landed in one of the bins, but was stuck....his head popping out periodically as he tried to hoist himself out of the can. He couldn't get his wings out far enough for lift off. After a quick debate, I hopped out of the car and went over to see if I could help. I tipped the bin gently sideways, and the seagull slid out...flew off without a backwards glance. My good deed for the day.

We did the loop around the whole island (route 330) and stopped at a beach to let the dogs out (yes, we brought "the girls" with us on our adventure).They had to stay on leash, despite the fact that no one else was around. Many of the Nova Scotia beaches are nesting areas for Piping Plovers...a shore bird. Piping Plovers and their habitat are protected by the Nova Scotia Endangered Species Act. Here is the information from the sign posted:
Piping Plovers, a small shorebird, use this beach for nesting between mid-April and August. Disturbance by people, vehicles and pets on beaches can destroy eggs, cause nest failure and kill chicks. Please do your part to protect the plovers and the beach during the nesting period:
- Stay away from nest sites identified by signs
- Walk as close to the water's edge as possible
- Vehicles, bicycles and horses are prohibited on the beach during the nesting period
- Pets must be on a leash at all times
- Don't litter


Look at the colour of the water!I was intrigued by the remains from an old wharf and took a few pictures while John kept the dogs on the path in the sand dunes.Time to get on the road again...Back on Hwy 3 to route 309...the loop through Port La Tour, West Baccaro, up to Port Clyde and around another shore loop, stopping at the Roseway Beach. We had stopped here last fall, but it was dusk and we didn't get a chance to walk the beach...something I had to rectify!It was low tide, so there was sandy beach practically as far as we could see. And not a sound except the waves coming into shore. Heaven.By this time, it was getting late. I would have loved to continue driving the back roads towards home, but that would have taken hours and hours. We hopped back on the main highway (103) and headed home...a 1 1/h hour drive.

As always, I ended the day thinking how lucky we are to live this lifestyle! What could be better than this?

Monday, June 14, 2010

an outing for sand dollars

Our granddaughter, Miss M, has been on a mission to find some sand dollars for quite some time now. Her mom, DIL, and I even stooped so low as to bid on a jar of sand dollars at an auction we were at recently....something that should not be necessary when you live in Nova Scotia!

So when G, DIL, and Miss M visited us on the weekend and Miss M asked where the best beach for finding sand dollars was....we just had to head out to Carter's Beach. The last time John and I went to Carter's was last summer (I am asking myself as I type this why, why, why don't we go more often?). From our place, it's a little more than one hour on the "fast highway" to get there. I think it's one of those secrets kept from tourists...it's not on any map that I've seen. In order to find the beach originally, John and I actually had to stop at a tourist information centre and ask for directions.

Saturday was overcast, but quite warm and there were more people at the beach than we've ever seen there before. The road ends at the beach, and there is no parking lot, so parking might be a challenge if there's more than 10 cars. The beach had completely changed since last year, a result of the huge storm we had last summer. The dune from the photo on last year's post (3rd down) with our dog Mulligan doesn't exist any more. But the beach is still beautiful...and very, very long.A lovely long walk for finding sand dollars. Here is our crew (from left to right -- DIL, G, Miss M, John, and me):We had warned Miss M that we might not find any. Ha! That girl will go through life thinking that sand dollars are everywhere.

So, what exactly is a sand dollar anyway? Here's a link to a brief description and legend of the sand dollar.

Now we have our own jars of sand dollars (there were so many, I got to collect some too!) and don't need to outbid someone at an auction for a jar!

Friday, June 11, 2010

at the end of the day

Even when you live in the middle of nowhere, there are beautiful things to see.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mission Accomplished

Remember the window I was working on last week? Well, here are the finishing phases... The grout gets added (this is when I have many anxious moments...doesn't it look lovely?)After some drying time, the excess gets removed.Then it gets all polished up. And here it is...completed! Here is the window with the sun coming through from the back:
And here it is with the sun shining from the front:

C'est fini.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A bit about our shed

One of the blessings (and sometimes a curse) about life in Nova Scotia is the pace of life. Nothing much happens quickly. A couple of months ago, we arranged to have a local man build a shed for us. A month or so later, our shed got started. It's 12 feet by 16 feet...the maximum size you can build around here without a building permit. The "before" photo shows the spot before the shed went up. Most of the photos are taken from the corner of our deck.Day One...the floor went down. (funny thing...when we were discussing the building materials John asked our shed man if he used plywood for the floor. I think if we were outside, the man would have spit on the ground! "Plywood"...he said..."I would never use such a thing!") All the wood for the shed is hand cut and hand milled. The floor is tongue and groove.

Day Two, the framing for the walls went up. Day Three, the framing for the roof went on. Day Four, the extension for the wood pile was created and the wood for two of the walls went on, which continued on Day Five. (the walls will be board and batten when completed). Day Six, the walls were completed (still no batten) and part of the roof went on. Day Seven, the roof was completed and is now waiting for shingles.

Still to come: the windows will go in (saved from our previous home in Ontario), the door will go on, the shingles will get laid, and the batten will go up. And one of my favourite parts? A weathervane! Yay.
I should note that the shed is level...it's our land that has a slope to it!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Lupins

I have loved Lupins since I first saw them while we were vacationing in Cape Breton 12 years ago. They literally grow like weeds in Nova Scotia, so imagine my disappointment when I discovered that we must be the only rural property in Nova Scotia that didn't have wild Lupins! Not one wild lupin on 20 acres.

I sorted that out last year when I broke down and actually purchased some from a local lady who was selling plants at the side of the road. They are blooming like crazy and I love them. But. It's such a small little bunch.

Last year I collected all their seeds, and planted them in our newly expanded garden. Nothing has come up. I'm not sure if it's because it's been so very dry around here (we received half of last year's rainfall in May, and also year to date) or because our guineas are eating all the sprouts.

We headed out to the local lady's plant stand yesterday so I could (gulp) purchase more lupins but she has put her table away and has no more plants to sell.

It's my goal to have a huge meadow full of them someday, but we've got a long way to go!

Today: we're off to the local Ox Pull. Fun in the country.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Garden Structure Window

I have been madly working on a window over the past couple of weeks. The window was formerly a basement window in a Lunenburg home and is getting repurposed to go into a garden structure at the same home.

The window will be permanently afixed to the garden structure, so I was anxious for it to turn out well. It's not finished yet...it's in the drying stage (the white glue will dry clear). As soon as it dries a little more, I'll be adding grout between the pieces. The little brown piece is the body of a dragonfly. It will show up better once the grout is added. Stay tuned for the final result!