Category Archives: New Brunswick

A time for peace

“The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost

 

A friend of mine died last week-end. Finding her was oh so hard, but she’s at peace and her trusty dog stayed by her side until help arrived. As the details are dealt with, and no one’s business but hers alone, it’s time to celebrate the woman she was.

Vanessa Packman was known by many in our small community and beyond. She was active in several groups, most of which supported animal welfare, and the celebration of what was good about our community.

But more than being the consummate volunteer and community supporter, Vanessa was a whimsical soul. She saw beauty and hope around many corners and dreamed of a better world for all, especially our animal friends.

Last year, for her 50th birthday celebration, her friends got together to host a surprise “Alice in Wonderland” themed garden party. Vanessa was most definitely surprised.

Vanessa arriving at her party

She quickly joined into the spirit of the occasion, donning a special gown just for the occasion.

‘Nessa in Wonderland

A buffet meal suitable to a garden tea party was presented along with the requisite cake and most thoughtful gifts.  As queen for the day, Vanessa reigned over the assembled group with aplomb. Her “Lady in Waiting”, KC, was never far from her side (and the food).

“Lady in Waiting”, KC

Whatever else was going on in her life, Vanessa always had time to talk to her friends, share the bounty of her garden, and ask after others’ families and wellbeing. Those who knew and cherished her will miss her bright smile and never-ending ideas for the betterment of all.

Cheers and “pinky up” my friend. Rest in Peace.

Vanessa and I at her garden party.

 

 

Also posted in BLOG, caring, seasons Tagged , , , |

Christmas time

It was a White Christmas

Right on time the snow began to fall on Christmas Day making it one of the more picturesque ones we’ve had in a few years. It put a damper on travel plans for some people, but for those who didn’t need to go anywhere, it was a wonderful day to curl up at home, relax, perhaps read a book or watch a movie, and enjoy the company family and friends. Even though there were only three for our celebration (myself, hubby and pooch) it was a nice, quiet day. There was time for conversation, relaxation and appreciation for the things we have. Since this year Joel didn’t have to battle his way through the snow to work, we could sit back and enjoy the day.

I made a centrepiece with the flowers that the Smyth family gave me and it brightened our table for yesterday’s dinner and today’s breakfast.

The Holiday Bird

Since there were only two of us for dinner, we decided to forego the traditional turkey in favour of a more manageable roast chicken. It turned out well. There are enough leftovers for today’s dinner, but not so many that we’ll be sick of it in a few days.

Since our day was filled with joy, peace and happy thoughts, we wish the same for our friends and family as we start to wrap up the Christmas celebrations and prepare for the start of a new year.

We wish the best for you in 2018 – health and happiness throughout the year.

Also posted in BLOG, Christmas, Christmas decor, seasons, winter Tagged , , |

Spontaneity is SUCH a good thing

Sometimes you have to celebrate spontaneity and just “go with the flow”.

Saturday morning, for no particular reason, Joel, Harley and I decided to go for a drive to Alma, NB, to see what there was to see.

I finally had a chance to shoot some ‘blueberry’ fields beside the road just outside the entrance to #FundyNationalPark.

Blueberry Fields Forever

Wherever you looked, on either side of the road, the red tinged leaves of the plants carpeted the fields as far as the eye could see. We weren’t the only ones stopping to admire Mother Nature’s splendour.

Once inside the park we stopped to check out Bennett Lake. Unlike the long hot days of summer, we were the only souls exploring that day. No children, no picnicking families, no couples paddling by. But the peace was palpable as we explored the shoreline.

Bennett Lake, Fundy National Park

Further inside the park we stopped beside the public swimming pool. From the parking lot you can explore the shore in either direction – toward Alma or toward St. Martins. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed every moment.

Looking toward Alma, NB

We arrived just as the tide was turning and beginning to flow back on shore.

Joel and Harley

Harley and me

Our explorations complete, we took a spin through Alma, stopping at the bake shop for sticky buns and coffee. Then, we headed home, our celebration of spontaneity complete!

Also posted in Autumn, BLOG, Canada, Fall Foliage, photography, seasons Tagged , , , |

Along the shore

Sunday morning I headed out for a trip along the shore – the shore of the Kennebecasis River and the shore of the Bay of Fundy.

Kennebecasis River at Hampton, NB

I was determined to avoid the boring 4-lane, tree-lined highways as much as possible. I wanted to see fall colours and water – lots and lots of water. My first stop as at the top of the hill on the old road between Hampton and Nauwigewaak, opposite the High-Low farm, overlooking the edge of the town  and the Pickwauket hills. There was a time when I saw this view every day of life as I traveled back and forth between home on the Kingston Peninsula and work in Saint John. That was prior to the construction of the ‘new’ highway that bypassed all possible scenic outlooks.

Once I passed Saint John I again got off the highway and traveled the shore roads as much as possible. Even there, it was hard to get close to the water except at spots where the road kissed the shore and you could actually see the bay.

On the shore of the Bay of Fundy, low tide

I passed through (among others) Chance Harbour where, at low tide with a cold wind blowing, I wondered how people living in dilapidated houses with shingles missing from their roofs kept warm. Dipper Harbour , with its piles of lobster traps neatly displayed on the shore, was so much more tidy with more apparently prosperous homes.

Dipper Harbour, NB

On through Maces Bay where the cliffs on the far shore were more obvious and seagulls hunkered down in the low tide mud flats and sea grass to keep warm while watching for lunch.

Maces Bay, NB

Meanwhile a lone fishing boat headed out into the bay.

Charlotte Co. NB

I was hoping that Lepreau Falls would provide a photographic opportunity, but with the months-long drought we’ve been experiencing, the river had all but dried up and the falls were nought but a trickle over the rocks. In St. George. though, some water was still flowing through the gorge and made for a pretty autumn image.

St. George, NB

Then it was on to St. Andrews. Since I was far too early to check in to the inn, I went exploring through the town.

One of three canons defending the town of St. Andrews, NB, outside the Blockhouse.

 

Blockhouse (fort) at St. Andrews, NB

 

Mouth of a canon in St. Andrews, NB

With the threat of invasion from the south somewhat reduced from when these installations were created, today’s visitors find more peaceful ways to view the Bay of Fundy and the shores of the state of Maine in the background.

Breakwater at St. Andrews, NB

At the other end of town there’s a rocky beach. At low tide more seagulls line up there, in the sun, to take off and keep a wary eye out for a fish or two that might become today’s meal.

Seagulls on the beach in St. Andrews, NB

Their calls are raucous and loud but totally appropriate for the moment, of course.

My exploring done, I headed off to check in to the #RossmountInn in Chamcook, just outside the town limits of #StAndrews. The main goal of my trip was to spend the night there and have dinner with a lively group of writers with whom I’d shared my trip to Ireland last spring.

Rossmount Inn, NB

It was a little too cool to take a dip in the pool, but it certainly looked inviting.

Swimming pool at the Rossmount

Others followed the winding trail to the mountain top. I didn’t make it up there, but they told me the view was spectacular and that, at one point, it had been the primary lookout for invaders approaching from the USA.

Apparently there are informative plaques along the way and the walk was well worth it, making me wish I’d gone along. The colourful foliage was still hanging on to many of the huge trees around the property, revelling in the warmth and sunshine of the late autumn day.

On a clear day like that from the front porch of the Inn you could see the Bay.

View of the Bay

Little details around the property make all the difference. The newel post on the front stairs could serve as a hitching ring for those arriving by carriage or on horseback. Unless it’s changed recently, there was a law on the books requiring hoteliers to provide stabling and hay for their guests’ horses – one I’ve always wanted to test.

All in all, my trip along the shores of rivers, streams and the famous Bay of Fundy was a good one, ending with a divine meal, good wine, good friends and much laughter.

After downing a couple of cups of coffee while huddled on the front porch of the Inn, a group of us watched the sun peek over the horizon as another week began. I packed my car and headed for home while others stayed behind to participate in another Go and Write retreat with #GerardCollins. If you like to write and want to be challenged to improve your skills, these retreat workshops are well worth the investment of both time and money.

Charlotte Co. NB

Also posted in BLOG, Canada, photography Tagged , , , , , |

Fantastic Fall Foliage

Many people concur; the fall foliage this year is among the most spectacular it’s been in several years. The reds are redder; the oranges deeper; and the golds more brilliant than ever.

Just walking around our town right now is a joy. Sidewalks are carpeted in colour.

Hay fields that are inside the town are surrounded by forests punctuated with the colours of the season.

Yes, season the fall foliage is fantastic. It’s at its peak right now so if you want to enjoy the brilliant colours, now would be the time to hit the roads and trails. The days are clear, crisp and cool; the nights are chilly; and the colourful leaves reflect the colours of the season. This is Mother Nature’s way of easing us into the season to follow.

 

 

 

Also posted in Autumn, BLOG, Fall Foliage, photography, seasons Tagged |

Early autumn walkabout

Have you noticed? The autumn colours are peeking through, perhaps due to the extremely dry conditions, but also the season. I love to walk in the early autumn. The days are warm and the nights are cool enough to open the bedroom windows and turn off the air conditioning at last. The sun still has the strength to warm the soul.

The last of the hot air balloons flew through the other morning. Like birds migrating south, they are leaving the area seeking warmer locations for the winter season.

Every tree has at least a few leaves that are turning the brilliant colours we associate with autumn. It’s just the beginning.

Even the cheery Black-Eyed Susans have passed their peak and are beginning to wilt.

The last white rose on the bush is clinging on, making passers-by smile; a reminder that they’ll be back in profusion next spring.

As flower wilt and shrivel up bees hover near sucking up whatever nectar they can find to sustain them through the coming cold months. But for now, early autumn is a very pleasant time.

The remaining choke cherries are beginning to shrivel but they still make a tasty snack for birds fattening up for the migration south, or in preparation for sitting out the winter with the rest of us.

Wee blossoms in the ditch are fading, but still golden in the sunlight.

And high in a tree, the crab  apples are ready for raccoons and deer to snack upon.

Yes, early autumn IS the perfect time for a walkabout. The mugginess of summer has abated and the air is becoming crisp and clear. We are fortunate here in eastern Canada to enjoy four distinct seasons and the coming fall is, without doubt, my favourite.

For most people, January 1st signals the start of a new year. But for me it’s fall. Perhaps it’s because a new school year begins in September. Or perhaps it’s just because it’s invigorating after the sultry days of summer.

 

Also posted in appreciation, Autumn, BLOG, Fall Foliage, photography, seasons Tagged , , |

2000 km +: what a week!

A little over a week ago Joel and I went in to Saint John to view the arrival of the Tall Ships for the Festival of Sails event. It was wonderful to see the beautiful ships rounding Partridge Island and heading for the harbour. It was also wonderful to see the people who turned out to welcome the ships and their crews and to celebrate just one of the many summer festivals the city has to offer.

No sooner was that over when I hit the road for Nova Scotia to spend a couple of days visiting friends. It was a terrific time as well and on Wednesday I head for home again.

Thursday I did some laundry and tried to get a bit of rest because my (ahem) 50th High School reunion was happening on Friday and Saturday. I didn’t take very many photos as I was having much too good a time, but I enjoyed watching everyone reconnecting, laughing and sharing both stories and adventures.This involved multiple trips into Saint John and Hampton, of course.

Then, to round off the week I got up at 5:a.m. yesterday and headed to PEI to photographs the Dressage PEI show and the Atlantic Canada Equestrian Championships. Got home last night, crashed and got up at 6 this morning to start downloading hundreds of photos, sort them, prepare the proofs and then upload the whole shebang to my website – once it was back up and running.

Yes, this is the week that was. I think this one will be just a little quieter – I hope. Harley needs his mama to be home!

 

Also posted in accomplishments, appreciation, awards, BLOG, Canada, photography, seasons

Summer is coming to an end but it’s not over yet

Yes, summer is slowly coming to an end. There was a distinctly fall-ish nip to the air this morning. But that didn’t deter Joel and me from heading in to Saint John to watch the dramatic arrival of tall masted sailing ships – the central part of the Saint John Festival of Sail 2017. They were magnificent as they rounded the corner from behind historic Partridge Island and began their parade into the Saint John Harbour.

Coming out of the fog from behind Partridge Island to begin the sail into Saint John’s Harbour

As the ships began to sail in the sun came out from behind the clouds warming the spectators who lined the route on both sides of the harbour. Out on the water a flotilla of boats – big boats, small boats, sail boats, motor boats, kayaks and more – were waiting to accompany the newcomers to their berths.

Watching the #tallshipsSJ arrive was a wonderful way to spend a warm and sunny mid-August morning. It’s just one of several events happening in our ‘hood’ of southern NB over the next few weeks. Here’s a sample of a few of the over 100 photos I took during the ships’ arrival.

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Events like this plus, many others happening in the area, encourage a sense of community and a LOT of smiling. Total strangers were talking with each other – about the weather (yes, it’s a typically Canadian pass-time), about the ships, about their families and pets and generally getting to know each other. Some shared photo tips. Some just smiled and said hello – but the general feeling was SO nice, especially given the current world-wide political climate. There was no talk of politics, terrorism or general angst. Just a variety of people enjoying the day and an experience, together.

Coming up next? A chocolate festival, a celebration of all things blueberry, the annual giant Flea Market (this week-end) in Sussex, the Kings County Agricultural Fair, the Balloon Fiesta and SO MUCH MORE. So, don’t give up on the season yet – there’s still lots of time to enjoy the weather and events that make it special!

Also posted in appreciation, BLOG, Canada, photography, summer Tagged , , , |

The Picture Province

Years ago Tourism New Brunswick used the slogan “Canada’s Picture Province”. Somewhere along the line that slogan was dropped in favour of several variations that essentially said nothing nor gave any reason to stop in what had become Canada’s pass-through province. Tourists on their way to Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island rush through on the lovely 4-lane Trans Canada highway and  are rarely enticed to top and see what we proudly have to offer.

I had visitors from British Columbia today. It was a pleasure to finally meet ‘new’ cousins that I’d been chatting with on Facebook but had never actually meant. Knowing that I am a keen photographer, they asked if I had any poster or prints for sale and it suddenly dawned on me that I rarely showcase those items. So, I’ve created two galleries – one featuring the Fundy Shore from Cape Enrage through Alma and to St. Martins and the Fundy Trail. The second features my home territory in Picadilly, Sussex and around Kings County and its rural lifestyle. I hope you will check out my Maritime Memories galleries for a look at a few of the reasons why this province IS indeed Canada’s Picture Province.

On the Fundy Trail

Also posted in BLOG, Canada, photography Tagged , , , , , , , |

Fun in the field at the Hampton Riding Centre

My friend Jennifer owns and operates the #HamptonRidingCentre. Each year she offers a series of training clinics for aspiring cross-country riders. At the beginning levels she believes it is important to develop confidence in riding at faster speeds and jumping while riding at speed as well. It’s not as easy as it might sound or look!

For me, as a photographer, it’s fun to capture the action as people learn while having fun out in the field enjoying their horses instead of being confined to a fenced-in riding ring. Enjoy the slideshow!

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I hope you enjoyed your quick overview of these ladies learning about regulating pace and jumping obstacles within the pace. Thanks, Jen, for letting me play too!

 

Also posted in BLOG, horse training, horses, photography Tagged , , |