Sunday, June 29, 2008

Holy Mackerel!
Yesterday afternoon, I answered the side door to a very sweet man, Ivan, who lives down the street from us at Atlantic Heights - a rest home for disabled adults. Ivan and Wayne have been pals since we first came here in 2002 and he often stops to chat with Wayne in the yard and always waves hello as he passes, usually on his way to fish in the harbour.

Ivan was stopping by to give us some fresh caught mackerel - the second time he has done this. The first time, fortunately, we had a guest, Ron MacIsaac, an old friend of Wayne's and a native Maritimer who took the fish, filleted them and had them on the barbecue in no time. Absolutely delicious!

This time, as I walked into the kitchen, the bag began to thrash around (it's only about 150 yards to the wharf where Ivan was fishing). In a very typical girl reaction, I screamed and dropped the bag on the counter. After I went to inform Wayne of what had quickly become "his" present, I raced back to the kitchen and tossed the bag in the sink so I wouldn't have mackerel flopping around on the kitchen floor.

Wayne did his best to clean them - assorted hacking and swearing involved - I stayed far away. He barbecued them after the steaks we were having for dinner - he and Tigger seemed to think the fish were just fine.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Great New Restaurant

In a sparsely populated part of the country like this, restaurants have a very precarious lifespan. In the 7 years we've been in Lockeport, the "main" town restaurant has changed hands 3 times and is again for sale, one restaurant (slightly more upscale) and the B&B in which it was situated have closed, the restaurant/bowling alley combo has had 3 owners and was for sale again but now seems to be stabilized, and the restaurant with the "view" (which is seasonal) has a shorter season each year.

Out on Highway 103 in a much smaller town (Sable River) about 16km from us, a nice unpretentious restaurant existed until last year, barely hanging on because of the highway traffic and being 1 of 2 restaurants directly on the highway from Yarmouth to Hebb's Cross near Bridgewater. This place was the Grub'n'Grog - actually not at all what the name conveys but an average place serving typical hamburgers, club sandwiches, fish and chips sort of menu. It had been for sale all that time and finally sold to a couple from Alberta seeking a simpler life, the Zaaris.

Other than the hassles with assorted provincial inspectors and regulations as they rebuilt the restaurant, they have found that life in spades. Their place is called The Chef's Table and the owner is actually a very experienced chef; Moroccan in origin, he has worked throughout Europe and Canada. His menu is not extensive, but is certainly appealing.

We met our friends Sherm and Cindy there last night for dinner and had a truly lovely meal. Appetizers were shrimp cocktail (me with my lack of imagination and easily upset tummy), smoked salmon and pickled ginger salad (Wayne and Cindy), and smoked halibut (Sherm). There was a loaf of fresh hot bread for dipping in a red garlic and oil sauce. Our mains were pork tenderloin with caramelized apple slices and pearl onions with stuffed potato, carrots, broccoli, and pureed squash (me), 2 lamb curries with okra, served over rice (hot - Wayne, mild - Sherm) and Cindy had a scallop linguine with a turmeric sauce. For dessert, I had a mixed berry cheesecake and Cindy had creme brule - there were also 2 different trifles, zabaglione, peach melba and others I can't remember.

All of the food was very fresh, well prepared, delicious. One bill was $49 for 2, the other was $54. They still don't have a liquor licence but it wasn't missed.

Welcome to Nova Scotia, Mr. and Mrs. Zaari - we hope you stay a long time.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Canada Days!!

Canada Day in Lockeport takes a very long time - in fact it covers about a week and a half.

Lockeport is the Canada Day centre for this part of Nova Scotia and boy do we have events. Officially, the celebration started last Friday (the 20th) although so far the events have been pretty low key. However the decorations are up and tickets for assorted things are selling like hot cakes.

Tonight is a community variety show at the high school from which a king and queen (of what I'm not sure - maybe the parade) will be chosen. We're going to go for the first time.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) is the 1st of 7 musical performances - the nickname for Canada Day celebrations is LOCKEPORT ROCKS. The first show will be country but the rest are rock, blues and jazz, of course Sunday's will be Christian Rock since we are firmly in the middle of God's country here. Friday evening there are 2 - an early youth concert and at 10:00PM the Hupman Brothers, our favourite local (now out of Wolfville) blues and jazz band. I hope I can stay up that late.

One of My Better Ideas!

It's almost here! The unveiling of the rug exhibit that I proposed to my hooking group last summer - many people have been working very hard at making it a reality and we have about 31/32 mats to display during the Grand Re-enactment Weekend celebrations in July. We hope to have it travel around to other sites afterwards but here are the details of our initial display, along with the pictures of the first rugs submitted. Thank you Linda for your great pictures and thanks to Timothy for getting them on-line. And most of all thanks to Marian for loving my idea and doing so much of the organizational work!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

For Chris!

Download Day

Just in case you didn't notice, I joined the Firefox World Record group on Facebook the day before you and Kev did ( let's not be picky about the fact you guys are working on the real thing itself). I may be getting a small bit older (lol), but I can still recognize some of the good features offered by Firefox 3 - I'm just glad I'm out of the computer business (for 22 years now) and don't need many of them at this stage in my life.

I just hope we're not still "in transit to NS" on Tuesday so I can update as pledged.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Paranoia Pays Off!!

Wayne claims that my dislike of driving through Montreal is paranoia. I just don't like the overwhelming concrete feel, the traffic jams and the crazy drivers.

On Tuesday, coming back to Ottawa from Nova Scotia, Wayne agreed to skip Montreal and go through the USA, crossing at Cornwall back into Canada. The trip was long - probably about 3-4 hours longer than on the divided highway Canadian route A total of almost 19 hours. However, it started at 5:00AM (ADT) as we drove to Digby to catch the ferry to Saint John at 8:00AM. A 3 hour ferry trip broke things up nicely, then we continued on to St. Stephen to cross into Calais, Me. The border wait was about 20 minutes, then clear sailing across Maine and New Hampshire.

Suddenly we encountered cloud bursts, lightning, thunder, downpours, sunshine, high winds, all in varying amounts and lasting varying lengths of time across the rest of NH, Vermont and New York. There were big trees down - in one spot a Vermont highway crew was pushing trees off the road with a bulldozer. In Alburg, Vt along Lake Champlain, the power was out and several big trees were being removed by power company employees from the road and wires. We needed gas by then but of course the pumps weren't working. We finally stopped in Champlain, NY at an Exxon beside Highway 87 - very expensive gas but we did learn that Montreal was a mess - bridges closed due to trucks blowing over in the high winds and thus enormous traffic snarls.

Feeling highly vindicated for my route choice, we continued on to Ottawa, arriving around 10:45PM (EDT) - a very long day. However, this route was 422km shorter than the all-Canadian one through Quebec and New Brunswick, even though the drive takes longer due to being on 2 lane roads most of the way. That's a good tank of gas saved.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Lobster Festival Day 4 - June 8th, 2008

Well, it's over. And based on the calorie count of the meals in the last four days, that's good.

Supper last night was a seafood chowder dinner at the Lockeport Fire Hall in support of the Sea Derby which is held in August each year. The chowder was extremely good - haddock and lobster, potatoes, butter, cream - you get the idea. There were brown and white rolls, crackers, tea, coffee, juice and a selection of about 8 kinds of pie - pie is the staple dessert at community events here, and in most casual restaurants. Cost $8.00.

The best part of these meals is that you get to see tons of people you know and can chat with one and all. Initially we sat with Elayne and Al (our across-the-street neighbours) and got an update on our local town councillor who was hit in a motorcycle (his)/ car accident last Monday by the Beach Centre, and is in intensive care in Halifax. Then Ed appeared - a friend from Connecticut who has just arrived and was sans wife Karin (he claimed she was still in Connecticut shopping) so he appreciated the meal being offered. Then Fred, our friend we visited in California in March, then Betty and Rupert, Vera and Clinton, Vicki and so on. A very pleasant way to spend dinner time.

On the subject of food, The White Gull opens for the season on Thursday - sadly, we'll be in Ottawa then, but we'll be down to visit Liz et al. when we return sometime next week.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Lobster Festival Day 3 - June 7th, 2008

The day started early - it was the Town-wide Yard Sale in Shelburne and we wanted to get some windows for the shed so we left at 7:20 to get to Home Hardware when it opened at 8:00. Driving towards West Green Harbour we missed a deer by about 2 inches when it ran in front of the car - quite a surprise!

We got our windows and spent a couple of hours touring the yard sales - it was great to see the streets of Shelburne clogged with traffic and the sidewalks clogged with pedestrians. We made a few minor purchases - mainly books for grandchildren to read while visiting us. One of the longboats built for the Loyalist Landing celebrations was practising in the harbour - working on their military precision moves I guess.

Heading back to Lockeport, Wayne installed my dryer (with much muttering, cursing, changes to wall, etc), so lunch was plain old turkey and cheddar sandwiches between mumblings.

Supper - back to sublime. The Town & Country had no lobster so we went back to the Parrot's Pins. What a treat! Lobster and mango bisque, cheddar and chive biscuits, artichoke heart salad with baby spinach, baby romaine, snow peas, cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots, parmesan and a fruity dressing, AND lobster quesadillas with blackberry salsa. Dessert was something called Irish Cream bars - sinfully good. Then an on-the-house glass of ice wine-brandy. A lovely meal!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Lobster Festival Day 2 - June 6, 2008

Today we were more moderate.

Lunch was eaten at home - very boring beef and barley soup.

Supper - back to Sandy Point Lighthouse for a boiled lobster dinner. It consisted of tea, coffee, ice water, lobster, rolls and butter, potato salad (a very unique recipe with diced red peppers, peas and corn mixed in with the potato and mayo - and lots of paprika - excellent!) and a large serving of strawberry shortcake (homemade biscuits) with real whipped cream. All for $18.00.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Shelburne County Lobster Festival - Day 1, June 5th, 2008

The Lobster Festival starts today - the season for our district closed on May 31st so now everyone celebrates. Wayne has never been here for this event before so I think we may be going to consume too much lobster in the next 4 days.

Lunch - sublime! We went to the Parrot's Pins (yes, it still exists and will be staying for the foreseeable future - it's off the real estate market). The specials were Lobster bisque served with cheddar and chive biscuits, or Lobster and Fruit Salad or sandwich. We both had bisque, Wayne had salad and I had the sandwich version. The salad was lobster, baby spinach, oranges, grapefruit, cherry tomatoes with a limey mayo dressing. As a sandwich, it was sort of a tropical lobster roll using a delicious home made roll. Dessert was chocolate truffle cake.

Supper - ridiculous! We went to the Sandy Point Lighthouse/Community Centre for their creamed lobster dinner - creamed lobster on toast, mashed potatoes, peas, carrots, coleslaw, fresh buns, butter, ice water, tea, coffee and a choice of lemon meringue, coconut cream, chocolate cream or pumpkin pie - $15 each. By the way, the lighthouse restoration is well underway - the concrete base is fully repaired and fund- raising for repainting and railing improvements is underway. Here's the lighthouse before the repairs started - note the crumbling base.