Someone to Celebrate: Carol McCall and the oatcakes

On this our twenty fifth year it is important to celebrate. Even if the truth is we have been celebrating all along.

However simply.

Often it is a cup of tea and an oatcake.

Last year Carol made us 972 oatcakes that we have to studio visitors.

The oatcakes are special.

They are crisp and delicious.

Carol is an important part of the studio because she does this for us. We so appreciate her.

Visitors sometimes ask us how much they are.

We are so happy to tell them they are free.

Just a thank you for visiting us.

Often if someone is waiting while the other shop they are so happy to have a little treat.

972 oatcakes.

That is something to celebrate.

Carol McCall making them for us makes her someone to celebrate.

As a small business owner I have found that people like Carol who are retired but are willing to help a small business make a big difference.

We rely on her and are thankful for her.

Winter sets in

It happens so suddenly, that after Christmas feeling. Just a few days ago we were awaiting the magic and now it is past.

Personally I feel a kind of peace to have things back to normal, but also I feel a sense of loss.

I love the idea that it can be Christmas all year long, that we can keep that Christmas spirit, but if that was perfectly true the magic of Christmas would be lost.

I love gathering. I love the beauty of the lights. I love the season.

On the other hand, I do not love the winter. I just try to accept it.

I must adapt to this new season. This season of  winter, with all it’s faults, beholds a great deal.

It is a time to renew and prepare.

It is a time to collect out thoughts.

A time to collect out thanks.

In all the barren and bareness, there is so much joy and hope.

So much anticipation of what might become.

Those bare branches will bloom again. I just have to wait.

Over the past four months I have visited a local Syrian family who has moved to our community. I have watched them adapt to winter so easily, with such gratefulness and acceptance.

It is cold, yes.

It is slippery. It is wet. It is windy.

There is also a fire in my wood stove.

The pantry is stocked.

Life is good here.

Watching someone else appreciate the peace here has made me more grateful in general.

When I start to waver I remember that others have come a long way to be in these blizzards.

Many other wait, and dream of the day that they can build a snowman with their children.

So there is loveliness in the bare trees.

When the roads are bad I will try to  just settle in,

find some hand work,

say my prayers,

and be grateful even when things about the winter are getting own my nerves.


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The pond was fit for skating yesterday. Today it is ten degrees.

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This photo of my friends was taken by a photographer from the states who was here on a Rotary International Film crew. It is so beautiful.

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I am hooking neutrals…..

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Maritime Mary: Nature’s Art

The light has to be just so and your viewing angle must be perfect to see it. The labour of a spider, the web of entrapment is a mesmerizing piece of detail and finery that humans cannot reproduce. 

September brings this artwork to our porches, on clotheslines, attached to plants and planters and eaves. I leave them and watch the process of nature at work. 

Maritime Mary: Summer Plans

As I sit quietly with my morning coffee, sunlight is streaming through the kitchen window. It’s summer sunshine and the first full day of the season in which we place so many hopes. 

We make plans for places we’ll go, day trips we’ll take, visits we’ll make to friends and their cottages, books we’ll read, deck barbeques we’ll plan, beaches we’ll walk, hikes we’ll take….  And the list could go on. 

How much can one squeeze into one short season?  How much time will we give ourselves to be at home or at the cottage and just BE in that space, in that place, and allow ourselves to enjoy the greenery of the yard, the flowers on the deck?

So while my mental to-do list is long, it is made of similar plans that I made last year and the year previous. My season will be a success if I accomplish time, time to be, to relax at home and enjoy the greens and the breezes provided by the beautiful Bay of Fundy. 

No matter where you live, may your summer be good for you. 

The Marsh Bike Ride

On Saturday morning my friend Katherine and I headed across the Eddy Road, an old road that goes across the marsh, from downtown Amherst. Once we got to Fort Lawrence, we turned right and then a left on the Mount Whatley Road which took across to the New Brunswick side of the marsh. It was a great ride, challenging at time as it was a dirt road and the Mount Whatley hill is quite steep. We made it, turned around and came back the same way, it was so beautiful. It was a gorgeous ride.

I captured a picture of our bikes across the river that divides Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. I also got one of Katherine with her camera…as she really is. She loves her camera and posting her pictures on Facebook. Our ride has already been posted there no doubt.

It is quite nice to think you rode across to provinces, even if that is not exactly the truth. It sounds so good! The dirt roads are a little rough but there was hardly any traffic so you could ride really comfortably. Mostly all we saw was cows, flowers and fields. Along the Fort Lawrence road you could smell the lilacs in the breeze as you rode by people’s gardens.

Overtime I go down on the Tantramar Marsh, I am amazed by the simple beauty. On the way back Katherine pointed out a hawk in the sky that was flying over and watching us. The sunlight was filtering through the tips of his wings. It was a great way to end the trip, a reminder of what waits for you so close to town.

Amherst and Area Tourist Information is now available on my website!

I just pretended I was writing for Fodors Travel  Guide

I still like to pretend the way I used to when I was a kid. I used to pretend I had a little newspaper sometimes. Sometimes I would play house or store or post office. So last week I pretended I was a writer for Fodor’s about this area. I created a little travel guide.

It is a work in progress but I created a little travel page about our area….Cumberland Westmoreland. It is a work in progress and I am just getting it going. Katherine from California just came to our Spa Retreat in May and she said she had a hard time finding out about things to do in our community. I know there is lots to do because I am out and about lots. I decided to create my own little guide to the area. It is just things I like to do, or things I think other people might enjoy ( for example the golf course…the only reason I go there is to get one of Janie’s cinnamon buns).

I will add more things. In fact I just remembered another. If you have someone come to visit the area give them the link to this page. I think it is worth reading. If you are planning to visit yourself then yippee! ….you’ll find lots to do!

Click Here  to read Amherst and Area Tourist Information

 

 

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amherst Shore

My beautiful picture
My beautiful picture

A town this size is no place to hide, stand up and make a difference.

Lately our small town has taken some serious hits. We have lost some jobs and some important businesses. We have some hollow spots and there is a lot to be done.

I keep reminding myself that it isn’t Amherst that is experiencing this, it is small towns all across North America. Staying positive and hopeful takes work. It is a choice. Staying hopeful is much easier when you are doing something about it. When you contribute and choose to be engaged you automatically surround yourself with other people who are also engaged and lively. This squeezes out some of the negativity.

Do not get me wrong. When you hear people complain and whine about government continually and focus on what is wrong in a community it affects you. Even the most hopeful and engaged citizens sometimes need to sit in a room and vent to each other like I did today with another usually positive friend. We ranted. And rants are good as long as after the rant you get back to work to do something about what you ranted about.

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Otherwise the rant just needs to stop. Shut it down, sister, pack it up brother. I am tired of listening to it.  Enough is enough. I want to make things better one sweet little thing at a time.

I have had enough of the ranting and whining about what our community has lost. Don’t tell me anymore about what we lost.Start talking to me about what we could gain. Listing the businesses that have folded is not as helpful as listing the businesses that have started or still exist. If you want me to listen start talking to me about how to make the best of what we have. Tell me what you are going to do tomorrow, next week, next year to make your community a better place to live.

We are not alone. Communities across the continent have lost jobs. Populations in lots of places are aging.  People from across North America will read this blog post and it will all sound familiar to them.

If you want a good community you have to be part of the solution. Recently a woman who was considering moving here wrote me a note to see what I thought of the place because she had read  something on Facebook that was negative about the town. It really made me see how negativity spreads like a virus. She may or may not ever move here but wouldn’t it be a shame
for all of us who are working hard here if she did not because of  something negative said on fb? What if she , the potential citizen was part of the solution for the community but because people were spreading negativity posts and comments she changed her mind? It happens all the time. We lose out because of our negative attitudes and outlook.

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I am not a pollyanna. I run two businesses in a downtown that has been struggling for at least twenty five years. Together they employ 14 people part time and full time. I know that if we want our community to flourish we need to turn our focus away from what we had and towards what we have, and onwards to what we could have.

Just because you take a hit does not mean you have to go looking for another one.

Change is constant and real. Because this is our time and place it feels really personal but these kinds of changes have always happened in small towns and they will continue to.

As a community member I know that this town is full of strong minded , hardworking people who care about their community and those are the people I choose to believe in.

I choose to plant geraniums outside my door.

I choose to continue to try and make things better.

What do you choose?

 

Maritime Mary: Teamwork

In the words of John Donne, 

“No man is an island,

entire of itself;

every man is a piece of the continent,

a part of the main…”

Almost daily we are reminded of how important it is to be part of a community, how one can thrive in a group, find purpose, yet still be singular and individual. 

All around we see effective teams working on significant projects or causes. Individual roles are given, supported by the collective group to create, to perform, to assist others. 

Here in Amherst, my church community recently suddenly lost our leader, our priest. But there is evidence all around of the strength of so many individuals and groups within the parish to keep us connected as a strong and vibrant faith family. 

Each island is  “a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”

Maritime Mary: Maple

In the first day of spring my husband and daughter joined me for our annual walk into the Sugar Woods. It’s a Cumberland County thing to do.

The road was packed smoothly with snow on that chilly day and it was busy with people of all ages, families spending the day together, children, lots of stollers and  dogs too, all going in and out of the woods. Many returnees were enjoying some taffy on a stick or a maple leaf.

There are three camps along Maple Lane, two were boiling that day. The furthest one in is ‘off the grid’ and features an old homemade waterwheel. The ice formations around it were pretty interesting.

We bought treats at each camp as their products differ in darkness. I am told that it has to do with altitude and the sun. Nonetheless, all are yummy.

So again this year, we have Cumberland County maple syrup right out of the woods,  to marinate our salmon, add to dressings and baked beans, to top our pancakes, and yes, to sweeten our lives.

Maritime Mary: Hands

Hands

Busy hands,

Many hands 

Working together

Making light work

And work light. 

Hands creating,

Making meals,

Making music,

Fostering a home, 

Stitching a quilt, 

Working a garden,

Knitting for others,

Hooking for fun,

For relaxation therapy. 

Hands are for helping,

Motto for school,

For life. 

Hands of the elderly

Teaching hands of the young,

All working to build,

To create, to produce

For others. 

Happy hands. 

Hands

   
   

Maritime Mary: Beautiful Work

At Deanne’s studio, we are always pleased when customers bring in their finished pieces to show us their work. Nilda dropped in a few weeks ago to let us have a peek at her work in progress and to select more perfect colours. Georgina then took a photo of her almost finished winter scene and many of you saw it posted on the studio FB page. 

I was nicely surprised when Nilda came in again last Tuesday with not just one completed project, but two. Her hand drawn winter scene is shimmery and icy with sparkly snow, but warm and cozy at the same time. The skies tell us that there may be more snow in the way. There is so much Canadian winter in this piece!

  
Her second piece really surprised me. I had seen a small image that was the inspiration, centred around a birch tree, but as you can see, it is so much more. Aren’t the colours amazing? Quite a bit of studio dyed jersey made it into this fabulous piece. 

  
Nilda, sharing your beautiful hooking made my day!  We know that your next pieces will not be shy of colour!!

Maritime Mary: Hamburger Soup

When I first heard that some of my friends had made hamburger soup, to be honest, the word ‘delicious’ did not come to mind. Now I am a convert and I enjoy making a Dutch oven full of this hearty soup, enough to share. 

This is how I  made it yesterday. 

Cook 1 1/2 pounds of loose hamburger and one cup (or more) chopped onion in a Dutch oven. When the meat is no longer pink, drain out the liquid. 

Add a few minced garlic cloves. Cook for a minute, stirring. 

Add: about two cups of both chopped celery and sliced carrots, 1 large can undrained diced tomatoes, 1 small can tomato soup, 2-3 cups beef or vegetable broth, 1/2 cup barley, a handful of dried thyme and basil, salt and pepper to taste. 

Simmer on low heat for a few hours, stirring occasionally. 

This tastes even better the next day and freezes well. 

Serve with a fluffy biscuit and enjoy while your cheeks are still tingling after a great winter walk. 

   
   

Maritime Mary: A New Day

I slept in a little, 

Woke with anticipation for 

Delicious hot coffee,

Newspaper. 

Read of weekend violence

And hardships in our world. 

Opened the drapes to a sunny day,

Siding on the house was creaking as 

The sun warmed it. 

All was bright,

Fresh, white, clean, untouched snow. 

So much beauty all around

Needing to be appreciated. 

Feeling so fortunate to live where

We can open the drapes to 

Peace. 

   
    

 

Maritime Mary: Assessing 2015

2015,

How did we do?

Were we kind enough, 

Generous in thought and deed?

Did we pause enough

To reflect on what we’ve been given,

The comforts in our lives?

Were we sufficiently appreciative?

Did we treat our bodies with respect,

Moving them enough and honouring 

Them with healthy choices?

Did we drawn enough deep fresh air breaths,

Enjoying clear skies, picturesque clouds,

Fresh snowflakes,

Cooling breezes,

And even raindrops on our faces?

Did we smile enough,

Speak to strangers, 

Assist  those in need,

Hold babies?

2015, were we grateful enough

For our family people, 

Our friends, 

Our pets,

Our jobs?

Did we take the time to slow down, 

Even for a few moments each day

To give thanks?

2016,

A year of unknown outcomes,

Here we come 

To do the best we can,

Once again!

   
    
 

Maritime Mary: Little Christmas Bears

Many years ago when I was experiencing a difficult pregnancy, my doctor ordered bed rest but did not offer much hope that the pregnancy would continue. A fierce determination raged in my heart as I felt so connected to this baby, wanted her so much to survive. 

I followed orders, rested and kept busy by spending some time stitching six little Christmas bears that were in a kit that I had purchased a year or so earlier. Each stitch was a labour of love for my little baby. 

All went well and we had a beautiful little girl, now a cherished adult. And every Christmas I make sure that those little bears find the perfect spot to remind us of the great fortune we received. This year, they are adorning an inside wreath. 

Really, those bears are just a few pieces of now faded felt, but they are so much more. They remind me of the sanctity and beauty of life and the fortune we were bestowed. 

   
   

Maritime Mary: White

We say, “Oh no, not yet!” when we hear of the predicted early December snowfall. We cringe, scan ahead to forecasted temperatures for the next few days and then feel optimistic that this will be a temporary condition. 

Last night at bedtime, we were in the midst of a rather steady snowfall. This morning it was over and we awoke to a winter wonderland  of white. 

It is difficult not to appreciate the beauty of fresh snow on our fields, our decks, clothes lines, trees and yes, even on our driveways. It means work but for today, white  will be my favourite colour!

   
    
 
   
  

Maritime Mary: I’ve Been Thinking

I’ve been thinking about Christmas. Yesterday I ventured up to the attic and took a few decorations downstairs. They got no further than the spare room. I just was not ready to decorate or string up some lights. 

I have also been thinking about Christmas baking and went as far as to purchase extra sugar, butter, chocolate and gumdrops. But so far, no baking has occurred. 

I have also pondered Christmas shopping. To date, much more list making than shopping has been accomplished. 

And then last night, as my Book Club was emerging into the night, we walked out into a light snowfall. It was beautiful and cold, and a wee bit inspiring. 

As I write, I am watching the sun just beginning to climb over the horizon and I see that the deck and grass do have a layer of fuzzy, airy snow. This I am sure will soon melt away but later today I may be inspired to bake or decorate or shop. Or maybe I’ll wait for the next snowfall to motivate me. 

   
 

Maritime Mary: Our Ash Tree

Shortly after we moved into our home, so many years ago, we planted an ash tree in the backyard. It grew quickly and in summer, while in full leaf, it provides both a welcomed shade and appreciated privacy. 

The leaves of the ash tree turn slightly yellow in autumn. After a frosty night, as the sun warms the air, all of a sudden the leaves begin to fall. When our children were growing up, on sunny and cool October mornings, we would wonder if it was the day, the day for the tree to disrobe. Often it seemed to occur on a Saturday, fortunately, as we would be home to wait and watch for a sign. Many times we would watch in awe as leaf after leaf would fall to the ground. Unlike our maple trees, which drop their leaves over a period of a week or more, the ash would be bare and empty within an hour. It made a great show, our tree was telling us that it was beginning the season of hibernation. 

Today was that day. 

   
 

Maritime Mary: Inspired

It was a sunny mid October Saturday morning. My boots crunched over colourful leaves as I made my way downtown to the bustle of the final day of our annual Fibre Arts Festival. 

At the Zonta Fair, tables were filled with exceptional goods, in a multitude of beautiful ( and yes, delicious) fibres, both a visual and a tactile delight. 

Two of our downtown churches were displaying an overwhelming number of pew draped and hung quilts, all colours and designs imaginable.

The Town Hall’s entrance was not only welcoming but displayed beautiful handwork and more quilts, modern designs this time. 

Local rug hookers filled a very large gathering area with their work. I was left in awe by their designs, their precision, their colors. I was inspired to try to hook in new ways. 

Everywhere I went, I met people, mostly ladies, in groups, happily chatting. With the love and appreciation of fibre as a common thread, conversations between strangers was easy. The air was filled with positivity, an appreciation for the talents of the hand and for the fibres that allow creativity. 

As my downtown tour was ending in Saturday, a lady I chatted with while admiring a quilt together, mentioned how much she was enjoying our little town. She said, “You must love living here.”  And I do!

 As I walked home in that sunny day, crunching newly fallen leaves, my heart was full and I was inspired. 

   
   

Maritime Mary: Nilda’s Rug

Nilda is a sweet, happy person. She is a friend of a friend and over the last few months I have had the pleasure of getting to know her. We have bonded over, among other things, hooking. She sometimes comes to the studio on my workdays in search of specific colours, usually beautifully mottled dyed pieces of wool cloth. 

Recently Nilda showed me her latest finished hooking project which was inspired by a picture taken in Africa. It will be gifted to a niece, a very lucky niece. The colours are amazing and vibrant and you can almost feel the heat in the sun and on the sand. The shadows are fantastic. Beautiful work!

We’ll be looking forward to seeing your next project Nilda!

   
 

Maritime Mary: September Again

Late summer sunshine is enjoyed

As evening air cools,

Spent garden plants are pulled out

While tomatoes ripen on the vine. 

Carrots taste like they are meant to, sweet with a soft crunch. 

It’s time to attend hockey and football games

But miss some to follow and cheer for the Blue Jays. 

Dusk comes earlier 

And the sedum flowers 

“It’s great weather for sleeping,” we say. 

   
   

Maritime Mary: Visiting Bouctouche

Late August meananderings recently brought Greg and I to Bouctouche, a pretty little town found along the Northumberland shore of New Brunswick. Properties are well kept and coastal flavour is rich. 

As we drove to the well known dunes, we passed beaches with groups of people busy digging for clams, some up to their knees in the water. Clumps of upturned sand attracted a gaggle of Canada geese who were checking out clams for their supper as well. 

The beach along the dunes is perfect and families were enjoying the warm late summer day. The breeze russelled the sea grass as we sauntered along the serpentine boardwalk while the crickets noisily sang their song. It is a respectful place where one can learn of the natural dunes and the impact of environmental changes all while enjoying the breezy salt air. 

Supper followed at a nearby restaurant where we enjoyed a fabulous meal, seafood of course!

The Mariimes in the summer – perfect! 

   
    
   

Maritime Mary: Sundown/Moon Rising

“The sun was setting in the west…” That traditional campfire song, Farewell to Nova Scotia, was actually going through my head as my husband and I enjoyed a beautiful drive along the marshy areas just metres from the New Brunswick/Nova Scotia border.  The glorious setting sun nicely outlined the round hay bales on the freshly mowed fields. Beef animals grazed on pastures as the huge moon rose over the giant windmills. The moon and its tidal power and the mills generating wind power, were together in one shot, one cast of the eye on a beautiful peaceful late August evening.  

    
    
 

The Apothic Inn has newly opened in Amherst

We have a beautiful new inn opened very near the studio in Amherst and I wanted to share the pictures with you. The innkeeper, Rhonda Kelly gave me a tour just the other day….

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Bedroom 2a

Entrance Hall

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Apothic Inn exterior169 Victoria St. East
Amherst, NS
B4H 1Y6
1-902-661-8654

A luxury Bed & Breakfast in a fully restored 1870 Victorian Home. Three well appointed rooms, all with private bathrooms – 2 ensuite. Large comfortable common areas inside and out for relaxing and unwinding. Full breakfast included. Ideal for special events and retreats. 5 minute walk to downtown. Licensed by the province of Nova Scotia. VISA, Mastercard, Amex & cash accepted.

– Planning assistance with travel available
– Private meeting room onsite which comfortably seats 8-10; direct access to printing, scanning and wifi

Maritime Mary: Neighbourhood

Summer days means that most of our  living happens outdoors. We are much less inclined to hunker down for a marathon of TV viewing. Instead we cook outdoors, tinker around the yard, work at our vegetable and flower gardens, wash the car and relax for a reprieve under a shady tree. We are outside enjoying our property, the beach, our neighbourhood. 

Good neighbours are a blessing and we are truly among the blessed. Positive relationships are everywhere. People are friendly and help one another, keeping an eye out for the elderly and the young. On our quiet street, we sometimes casually gather and chat while children play. We laugh and call these our street meetings as we catch up on our news and enjoy the talents of the young ones playing around us. 

It’s much the same for our beach neighbourhood. We are not alone but among people we can count on when a need arises. 

And yes, as in days of old, we do go between houses occasionally to borrow an egg or a cup of sugar. 

  

Maritime Mary: Strawberries. 

Local produce is always the best, and that most definitely applies to strawberries. While year around, we can purchase imported berries, the very best, the juiciest, and the sweetest are grown right here on Maritime soil. 

Strawberries are so versatile. You can enjoy them in a breakfast cereal, with yogurt  or ice cream, or with a sweet biscuit for a dessert shortbread with whipped cream. Try a few slices in a glass of crisp white wine, tastes like summer! And during these warm days, many kitchens are busy making a year’s worth of strawberry jam. It’s that wonderful flavour that is we seek year round. 

We have a very little patch of wild strawberries at the cottage. It takes a lot of picking to make a handful but they are so flavourful and sweet and they always make me reminiscent of picking those little berries as a child. It was a rite of summer. The warmer it would get, the more those wild berries seemed to shrink. It was challenging to manage to get even a cupful. But then, sampling was part of the job, wasn’t it?

   
 

Maritime Mary: Summer

No pressure Summer, but so many are so invested in you. We have plans, many plans that we want to jam and cram into two short months. We ask and are asked about our intentions for you Summer. We make lists, book trips, plan barbeques and family get togethers. We think greedily of the time we’ll have, all we’ll accomplish, the friends we’ll visit, the books we’ll read. 

So Summer, we are invested in you. Be good to us. 

   
 

Maritime Mary: Planting

Planting annuals,

So much work for a short season,

But worth it. 

How will the mixed colours come forth?

Just plant

And wait for summer blooms. 

The chimes are playing

Beautiful music into the 

Light breeze. 

In the distance

A happy cow is mooing. 

Tractors are on the field

Gathering silage for 

Animals to eat

When grasses are gone. 

A hummingbird whizzes by

And all is well on

This day for planting. 

   
     

Maritime Mary: Lilacs

Tulips have faded and withered and the forsythia flowers have fallen and created a golden carpet. Now  lilacs are having their turn at brightening our spring days. 

My neighbour across the street has a lovely lilac bush and when the winds are favourable, we are treated to the sweet and distinctive scents from these flowers. 

Just the other day, my friend Margaret and I were completing our walk when we came upon a lovely but lonely lilac bush. Soon we were both walking down the street with beautiful bouquets in hand. What a sight we must have been!  

So for this short time, while they are in their prime, I am enjoying lilacs. Next, wild roses? 

     

Maritime Mary: Welcome to Nova Scotia

Perhaps as Amhertonians we see it so frequently that we take it for granted. But the fact remains that we have a very lovely and welcoming border crossing here, just across the Missaguash River from New Brunswick. Flags fly, the lighthouses are picturesque and camera ready,  and the views of the Bay of Fundy are incredible. This is really a perfect way to welcome our visitors to our beautiful Nova Scotia.

Enjoy!

   
      

Maritime Mary:  Ahh, Early June!

Ahh, early June,

Nature is greening,

Leaves are unfolding,

And plants expanding,

Early bloomers, flowering crabs splendid,

Gardeners are digging,

And optimism is everywhere. 

Cottages are opened,

Fire pits reused

Deck furniture readied. 

With the last month of school, 

Excitement builds for summer. 

It’s early June 

And it’s all ahead of us!

   

  
   
             

  

  

    

  

  
       

Maritime Mary: Chowder

Friday was a cold, rainy, dreary kind of spring day, a perfect day for a simple supper of scallop and lobster chowder. The result was delicious as it ‘hit the spot’ on that cool evening. 

Cube up and cook 3 to 4 small potatoes. Do not overcook. Drain and set aside. 

Meanwhile melt about 4 tbsp butter in a large pot. Chop 2 onions and 3 stalks of celery. Sauté in the butter, being careful not to brown the vegetables. 

Add 2 tbsp dried thyme and salt and pepper to sautéed mixture.  Add potatoes and the meat of 1 or 2 lobsters (or a thawed freezer pack) and a pound of small scallops. 

Blend in 2 cups of 18% cream and 2 cups of milk. (I used skim.)

Heat up slowly in a low heat. Sprinkle with dried tarragon and serve. 

Delicious.  

   

Maritime Mary: It’s Generational 

I grew up on a dairy farm that my parents built with hard and dedicated work. My brother farmed that same operation and now my nephew is preparing to do the same. 

Farmers talk about their beautiful animals, about production and lineage, of silage, corn, grain and grass. Their schedule is dictated by the seasons and successful spring, summer and fall crops are so important to feeding their livelihood throughout the year. They watch for that perfect timing, for letting the animals out to graze, for fertilizing, for cutting and harvesting.  They observe nature closely. 

As I live over two hours north of my family, I was always asked by my parents if they were “further ahead” than in Cumberland County. What they were asking about was the greenness of the grass and the state of the buds on the trees. Over the years, my brother would also ask that question and last week, my nephew asked the very same thing. Farmers all, watching and talking about the land. 

Now I know that come August, the question will change when it will be about the height of the corn crops. “Is the corn this high in Cumberland?”  I chuckle in anticipation. 

Generations of farmers who provide food for our tables, for our health, are all connected through their love and respect for the land. Here’s to a successful growing season! 

         

Maritime Mary: Lobsters

‘Tis the season again, the time of the year when we enjoy our first ‘feed’ of lobster. It sounds rather coarse but really, in my house,  a ‘feed’ may just consist of one lobster, or whatever it takes to satisfy you. 

The cold waters of the season, or the always chilly Bay of Fundy waters, provide the best of this crustacean delight. Cold waters means hard shells which in turn means full shells and nice sweet lobster meat. 

As per tradition, we covered the table with newspapers, made up a nice green salad, cut up a whole wheat baguette, added some lemon juice to hot butter and we were set to enjoy our delicious lobster. To make our day even more special, a visiting cousin from overseas joined us for his second ever taste of lobster. A step by step demonstration of lobster technique was successful and we truly enjoyed his enjoyment. 

The first ‘feed’ of the season is always the best.  

       

Maritime Mary: Saying Good -Bye

Recently we have had to say a final good-bye to some very fine people who fought hard but lost the battle. They were family men foremost, men involved in their community, people who loved to laugh and who enjoyed being in the company of others.  They crossed our paths regularly  and over many years, shared happy times with us.

We call the final service a celebration of life and fittingly it is. A daughter said to me recently that from that service, surrounded by so many, she received the comfort she required after the loss of her father. We listened to scripture aptly chosen, to the words of homilies and ulogies which brought nodding smiles and quiet chuckles, and to the messages of hymns meant to lift our spirits. We shed tears as we listened to ‘Ave Maria’in Latin and to a strong voice accompanied by piano sharing the specifically chosen ‘I Did it My Way’. 

Yes, these were final celebrations but maybe they were also meant to carry us to the next level where we smile when recalling good memories and further to that, to make us pause and reflect on our own lives, to say hello to our own lives and how we are living. Maybe we can take a piece of a good person lost and bring it forward in ourselves. 

And as I have been told many times over the years by positive, happy, elderly  people, that just to wake up each day is a blessing. And it is. Have a great day.  

     

Maritime Mary: Turkey Pot Pie

The best part of cooking a turkey at my house is usually on the third day, when we make a pot pie. On Sunday, the bird was cooked and today, Tuesday, we had a delicious pie for supper. 

It’s very easy to make. Start with a nice layer of chopped turkey in a casserole dish. Top it with vegetables, whatever you have. If they’re firm, you may want to par cook them first. Today we had carrots, onions, red and yellow peppers and snow peas. White or sweet potatoes or squash, peas, corn or beans, these all make for a delicious  pot pie. Warm up left over gravy and pour a few scoops over the turkey and vegetables. Add some extra seasoning (like rosemary  or tarragon) and top this off with some biscuit dough. I add an extra tsp or two of sugar to the dough. 

Bake in a 400 degree oven with foil covering the casserole for approximately 20 minutes and then another 15 minutes or so without the foil until the biscuits are nicely browned and the gravy is bubbling. 

Today the weather was bleak, cloudy and snowy. But inside our house, it smells of delicious pot pie!

   
     

Maritime Mary: Victory

Snowbanks are receding,

Winter coats have been washed and are timidly put away,

Mud grounds are bouncy, springy,

Days warmer, cool breezes,

Faces lifted up to catch rays,

Walk into the Sugar Woods,

Emerge with syrup and taffy,

Rubber boots necessary,

Street hockey games,

People walking, unleashed,

Puddles, flooded fields,

Skateboards and bikes,

And clothes again hanging on lines. 

We have survived the winter. 

Spring is victorious!

   

     

Maritime Mary: A Day at the Studio

Every Tuesday is different. When I arrive at Deanne’s studio on Tuesday mornings for my day of work, the first thing I do is to look around to check out what changes were made since the previous week. And every week, something is different. It could be a new rug on the wall, a new product, new wool colours, new yarns, or the furniture, well it could very well be changed all around. There is always something. 

Today was as most days are, filled with variety. Interesting people passed through to gather wool for projects, Bill Hopper came in and made us laugh, Harry the Printer dropped in, orders were filled and kits were prepared. We talked as we worked, that happens with a work force of women. It’s a great place to work. 

   

 

Today Deanne spent some time drawing one of a kind designs on linen and burlap. 

  

Laurie was busy at the serger preparing backing for Deanne’s designs. 

  Megan was catching up on emails. 

   

   

Poppies on the Edge of Town kits were prepared.