Friday, September 20, 2013

Stuff on the Road

The last part of our trip to Newfoundland has taken us up the northern peninsula to the spot where the Vikings arrived 1000 years ago.  Along the way we kept our eyes peeled along the side of the road for, of course, the fabled Newfoundland moose, of which there are 'supposedly' 4 for every square kilometre. The land was definitely moose country, swampy little ponds with stubby little trees - we would surely see many!

In St. Anthony's we had jams and desserts made with 2 local berries I'd never heard of before - bakeapple and partridgeberry.  Bakeapple are similar to raspberries, although they are yellow when ripe. They grow on small plants in bogs, one berry per plant so very time consuming to gather and expensive to purchase. Patridgeberries are small, bright red, round. Both are delicious.

As we were driving we noticed, for hundreds of kilometres, huge stacks of firewood, piled by the side of the road. We later found out that the wood is brought out in the winter, piled there by individuals, then used for firewood the next fall/winter.  Each person has their own pile! We also noticed small, fenced in vegetable gardens adjacent to the highway.  Apparently, their yards are too rocky to grow anything, but beside the road, in the middle of nowhere, where the road building machines have dug up the earth and the peat, the conditions are ideal for growing potatoes, cabbages and a few other items.

Another interesting sight beside the road are the big red chairs.  Seemingly randomly placed throughout Gros Morne National Park (to avoid being redundant I won't say in the middle of nowhere), they are just there for you to enjoy the view. So that's exactly what Marj did to watch the sun starting to set!

Well wouldn't you know it - hunting season started a few days ago. So guess what all the moose are doing?  However, we did see many slow driving (or stopping right in front of us!) pickup trucks driven by men with bright red hats.  Even saw a few men obviously working on a carcass by the side of the road, another on top of an ATV being hauled into town. We had almost resigned ourselves to the fact that we wouldn't see one. Then suddenly, Marj spots something in the distance, we back up down the road and sure enough, loping off through the woods:

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Mowing the Lawn

There's one thing you can't help but notice when you visit the Maritimes - big, big lawns.  Every stately looking white clapboard house is surrounded by an enormous, grassy, park-like expanse of green which brings one thought to mind "who mows all this?" Well today we found out.  We were travelling through northern New Brunswick (near Shediac) into Pictou County in Nova Scotia. Most of the way we travelled the "Sunrise Trail" which follows the Northumberland Strait coastline. All along the way we saw lots of the red, white and blue of the Acadian flag; many houses had a large black or gold star hanging by the front door which is also a symbol of Acadian culture. Nowadays, Acadians can be found in several places in NB and NS as well as Maine and Louisiana.

So it must have been 'lawn mowing' day in the Maritimes - everyone was out on their ride'm lawn mowers sprucing up their estates. We must have seen several dozen in just a couple of hours. Of course, out here, it doesn't look like watering is a necessity so I guess it's just as easy to grow grass as anything else.  And as we get closer to Cape Breton you can hear the accents start to thicken: "Have a noice day".

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