What a great day we had at the Fundy Parkway! It wasn't hot. We hiked for miles: up and down, up and down, up and down. Here's a picture of the last trail we went on. This is typical - well, they did say that it was "challenging".
This inukshut stands guard on the road to St. Martin's. Others stand along the main highway to Saint John. This one is spectacular. This art form has practical use in the Arctic, but now it has caught on around the world. We have sat at the beach building little inukshuk - a great source of pleasure and it takes some skill. Here is a class in the Netherlands playing with the form: And here I am standing by the road near the inukshuk.
People sit entranced watching for hours as these horses pull heavier and heavier loads on sledges. The the horses wait for their turn. They seem to enjoy it. I love draft horses, the size, the form and, of course, the brasses. And I love watching the people watch the horses. This is a slow guy game. I noticed that several of the horses were called "Judy", an excellent name.
I grew up in a large city, but we had horses for the bakery, the milk, the ash, and ice wagons. And I love watching horses work in the fields, the silence and the rhythm. I knew a team of Belgians, Duke and Prince, just a few years ago who worked in the sugar bush. They knew the route. The farmer figured they worked better than a tractor, less damage to the forest floor and they would just follow him from tree to tree. Tractors lack brains.
I was buying petrol (gasoline) the other day. I looked across the road and was entranced by the light. This is a corn field and on the hill is a winery. This is my valley where I'll return to live for ever some day.
I have deeply moved by Joanna Macy's work in deep ecology. This a website with a full length lecture. Tell me what you think: http://www.turntowardlife.tv/joanna_macy_workshop_video/about.htm
The server was down last evening - so here I am again. This is my carrot patch, except that alyssum and poppies have seeded themselves and are enjoying their day in the sun. Actually there are quite a few carrots growing among them. The volunteering flowers really don't seem to bother the carrots at all. All seem to live happily together. It's sort of like the neighbourhood. Perhaps we have learnt from the carrots. There is room for all. Some have deep roots and are hidden within, while others have their short colourful splash and, like the alyssum, others stay in the background and fill their space with little joys. I'm waxing botanical.
We went to the Ex - The Annapolis valley Exhibition - on Thursday evening. And here is my favourite. I just have this thing for Guinea Fowl - polka dotted birds. I should love to have some patrolling my daylilies for earwigs and ticks. I told my neighbour. He visibly blanched. "Have you ever heard them?". I think they would not be welcome in the neighbourhood. But Heckle and Jeckle lived for years up the road, but then I don't know what became of them, and I'd better not ask.
We went home for a couple of days. The cats love it there. I carefully explained to them that I had to return to New Brunswick to earn money to buy them cat food, but they were singularly unimpressed. They did everything they could to avoid being put back in the car for the six hour drive back. Maybe the next car I buy, which won't be for quite a while, will have air conditioning for the cats. Miss Johnston was trying to drink out of the vase, but she couldn't quite make it. She had turned by the time I snapped the picture. If it had been posed I would have moved the car. Any water, any water at all, seems to be tastier than the water I put out in her dish.
When the summer begins I stop at garden centres and rescue daylilies. I can plant them at any time. These places go for the spring trade and then poor little plants get relegated to the reduced-to-clear bin; such an indignity for such a noble flower. I hope to drive home again tomorrow for a few days. This time there will be the cats, a daylily, and me in the hot car. I have a field by the Bay for abandoned day lilies. Consider the lilies of the field....
This wasn't a plant that I remember from our gardens at home. I think that I first encountered it some 25 years ago. Now I really appreciate it. This is the plant that outlasts a drought and stands up in the rain. This purple coneflower grows beside the front walk to my apartment. It thrives on neglect, and neglect is what it gets.
One weekend in August the vendors come to the exhibition grounds. Now I am trying to declutter my life, so I'm not in a collecting mode. I made my way there this afternoon. There was everything and the kitchen sink. Here are the empty beer bottles and the Prada and Gucci bags. And I wondered what the story was behind these South American Indians coming to Sussex, New Brunswick. I didn't see a third of the vendors. I bought some lemonade.
The first really hot summer days have arrived - and I've been travelling in my little basic black car, with the poor cats. No air conditioning. The windows work. (The first time I heard someone, a car salesman, say that a car had "air" I thought that he was talking about inflating the tyres.) Anyway I drove down after work on Thursday, spent Friday planting this little bush - giving it plenty of room as it is supposed to end up being 6'x6' - near the front steps. It should fill it in nicely. I worked in the day lily field, put some more paint on the house, entertained for supper, then went out to a Scrabble/Quiddler evening, and drove back this afternoon in the heat. It is a six hour drive. Now I had better review my stuff for tomorrow's service. I think that there are folks who think that I relax on my day off.
These column of clematis rises out of a strawberry patch. I thought it was stunning.
On another note I took Miss Johnston to the vet today for her shots. Was she angry when I got her home! I don't know if it was going the vet, getting shots, or being in a carrying case. She always travels free. She growled at me for an hour after returning home, then she either forgave me or forgot and returned to being her old loving self. I suspect she forgot. Forgiveness doesn't seem to be in a cat's repertoire.
A rainy morning: the girls went out and checked it out and quickly regretted their decision. They then took up their favourite positions: Miss Johnston in the window and the Czarina on the nearby bed. I left the cats to their Zen meditation and went to work to bring home the cat food. When I have to move in a few months I don't think that I'll ever find such a nice apartment for cats with a large bay window with a seat to sit on and survey the outside world.
On my walk along the "forest" trail nearby I cross a road where I encounter this belligerent vehicle. I suppose it's there for protection, but from whom? The last invasion of any sort was by the Americans in 1812 - and then we went and burnt the White House. So I hardly think that they will try that again. This armoured whatever is parked outside the 8th Hussars Armoury, which I understand is a calvary regiment. What they need for a good invasion is a few more horses, I think.
Sussex has an "Agricultural Museum" filled with old farm equipment and implements as well as carriages of all sorts. The thing is that I remember this old stuff, some I have even used, some is still in the shed. But the fire truck? I guess the town didn't know what to do with the old ladder truck. I find these 'museums" so disheartening when I realize that I could be an exhibit.
I went walking and sketching by the Salmon River today. If you look to the horizon on the right hand side, that is where I live. Of course it takes almost six hours to drive around, but I can see home from here. The Bay of Fundy has been selected to be in the running for the seven new wonders of the world. It is the only site in Canada. This may mean that the Rockies, Niagara Falls and the Far North are diddly squat compared to my Bay. There may be those that differ, but their wonder just didn't make the cut. So this means that you need to vote: right here: votemyfundy.com Every vote counts. In the list I also selected Halong Bay because I've sailed on it, and it is truly fabulous, too. I passed the waterfall on the way back. On both sides of the Bay there are huge cliffs and the water pours over and down into the ocean.
I walked over to the caboose to see if I could find a geocache. I know that it is along the centre beam by the spring mount. Now I figured out what the centre beam is, but the spring mount? And it's a lot of undercarriage for me to feel around all the sneaky corners. So I thought that I would google "spring mount" and try to find it another time. And the horse? The shortcut to the caboose is through the horse barn at the exhibition grounds. I stopped to talk to the horses on my way through. They were bored silly and welcomed any interchange, even from me.
Finally before returning home we went down the mine in Springhill. Here are some of the deepest coal works in the world. Three disasters hit, the last being a bump, an underground local earthquake, in 1958 in which 174 miners in No. 2 colliery were trapped. Of these 74 were killed and 100 eventually rescued. I can remember my family being glued to the radio at each hourly newscast. It took five and a half days before they reached the first survivors. We had a television then, and I vividly remember the scenes at the pit head. My parents were so caught up in it all. The grief and the relief are vivid memories. After this disaster the mine was closed. The works are flooded, but a small shaft is open to the public and retired miners are the guides. The picture of us with the dummy was taken by our miner guide. The flooded shafts are used for geothermal energy for the nearby industrial park. The children I trudged through the tunnel with our guide past the pipes pumping up the water. Of course the lights were turned off for a few seconds so we could experience absolute dark. It was an experience for the children, but they could not put their minds around conditions in which eleven year olds went down to work in the mines lying down in narrow tunnels picking and shovelling the coal. Also the extent of the 3 Springhill disasters was beyond their comprehension, but the experience in the mine was immediate and I am glad this excursion finished up our time together.
Here are some more pictures from the jaunt I made with the Irene and Hugh. Here we are at Joggins, an UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has a magnificent visitor's centre and the fossils are there on the beach for everyone to see. The cliffs erode each year so something new is always appearing. So we spent lots of time on the shore on our private fossil hunt.
This is well worth the trip and I'm thrilled that I went and also that I had such keen companions. Anyway, go to Joggins. You may have never heard of it, but Google it. It is off the beaten track. There is actually few amenities in the village, but the centre serves meals. http://jogginsfossilcliffs.net/
Its importance is that this is where they found the "missing link", the precursor to the dinosaurs and to the lizards. It lies at the junction between North America and Africa when they jammed together.
The Saturday before I left it was my turn to be the lighthouse host. The lighthouse is open on weekend afternoons during the summer. I entertained the visitors who came to see climb the stairs and see the presentation. The lighthouse had been declared redundant. These days we have technology, but we did not want to lose our lighthouse. So we formed a society and bought it from the Federal Department of Transport. It cost us a dollar, a loonie, but then, or course, we were responsible for the upkeep. There were some lively meetings. Now I am away, I am out of the loop, but I was still on for my volunteer stint as the keeper of the light.
I picked what I could and left the rest of my garden, the potager, for my neighbours. The cats and I loaded up the car and drove back to New Brunswick to get back to work. The vacation is ended and now I must apply myself.
I had a month, July, to paint the exterior of my house before my holidays ended. It rained a bit, quite a bit, so there was seldom a day between rains for the wood to dry out. On the other hand the daylilies loved it. I have gotten very muddy working with them. So I win some and I lose some. I shall drive back to New Brunswick on Monday to begin paid work again. The house will be as it is.