Category Archives: summer

A trip down memory lane

I took a trip down memory lane.

As a young girl I spent most of my summers in Wolfville, NS. My mother and I would pack up and head there as soon as school had ended for the year so I could study violin with Professor Kalejs at Acadia University all summer long. I loved those long, hot and busy summers and there was still time to play with friends, go to the beach or just be a kid for a while away from the concrete streets of Saint John.

View of the Annapolis Valley across the Minas Basin to Blomidon Mountain that evokes an “I’m Home” response.

When you’re driving toward Wolfville, there’s a point in the road, near Avonport, where you come over a hill and you can see across the Minas Basin to Blomidon Mountain. There’s just something about that spot that makes everyone who loves ‘the Valley’ pause, sigh and say “I’m home”. If you tell anyone who lives there about that, they know exactly the spot you mean – and they’ll agree.

Some of my favourite memories are of playing in the mud or shallow waters at Evangeline Beach when the tide was low. You can always see Blomidon overlooking everything.

We also spent a lot of time in what is now the Grand Pré National Park. It was a a magical place to explore as a child. Great twisted elms provided shade and shadows to play in. Beautiful and fragrant gardens overwhelmed senses long inured to the smell of auto exhaust and wet pavement.

On the Old Post Road overlooking Grand Pré

On the grounds there’s a statue of Evangeline, the romantic subject of Longfellow’s poem by the same name, on the path leading to the wee chapel that now houses the history of the area and the peoples whose histories are so closely intertwined. Visiting there today brings out a host of emotions, not all of them happy as you think about what one group did to others centuries ago.

#RedChairs

Because it’s now a National Park, you can enjoy the view from the Red Chairs that have been placed in parks across the country.

Down the road at Horton’s Landing stands this cross marking the location of the expulsion of the Acadians.

View from Ridge Road, Wolfville, NS

Meanwhile, back in Wolfville, I took a drive along the Ridge Road. If you can get on top of a hill anywhere, the views are spectacular. Vineyards have popped up everywhere enjoying the rich and fertile soil and warm, sunny days that mark summer in ‘The Valley’.

I awoke the morning after the solar eclipse with an urge to photograph sunrise from the Look Off at Blomidon Mountain. In the dark I took a wrong turn and ended up at Kingsport Beach instead, viewing a purple and orange sky across the mud at low tide.

I turned around and headed for the high ground, quickly stopping as I saw a brilliant red orb rising over the treeline behind a farmer’s field. It was amazing. I put the ‘pedal to the metal’ then to get to higher ground!

At the top of the hill the sun was still rising in the red sky. If one were superstitious, given the recent eclipse and then a red sky, that would be a truly frightening sight. For me it was just beautiful.

Once the sun rose a little higher it spread it’s warmth and light on the valley below – and another day began.

Panorama from “The Lookoff” on Blomidon Mountain, NS

I always enjoy visiting “The Valley” and the many friends I have that still live in the area. It’s wonderful to take a trip down memory lane once in a while and be reminded of one’s own history and ties to various places in this country.

 

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

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, New Brunswick, photography Tagged , , , |

Summer is flying by in my garden

Here in the Maritimes summer in the garden is flying by much too quickly. I took a walk around the yard today creating photographs of what is happening (or not) in a couple of my very basic gardens. You have to understand that my passion is photography, not gardening. But, that said, I do appreciate how much a garden or two add to the ambience of a yard, making a house and property feel more “homey”.

Black-eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susan

The petals on my Black-eyed Susans are showing the ravages of time but they are still a bright spot out there in the yard.

Day Lilly

Day Lily

And while most of the lilies have given up the ghost, there are still a few buds waiting to extend summer just a little longer.

Double White Rose and Bee

Double White Rose and Bee

I’m always amazed by my Double White Rose bushes that continue to bloom into the fall. They keep the local bees happy!

Double White Rose bud

Double White Rose bud

And there may be more to come before the official end of summer.

Lilac buds

Lilac buds

Even the lilac bush is still loving the heat of summer and putting out new buds.

Rose Hips

Rose Hips

Meanwhile, the roses that have finished for the season are happily setting their rose hips. The birds will be happy when the temperatures get colder.

Berries on the bush

Berries on the bush

Here’s where I have to confess my ignorance. I have no idea what type of bush this is and consequently no idea what type of berries these are – but the birds sure do like them!

So, that’s how I spent this warm and muggy summer afternoon – roaming around the gardens taking photographs while there’s still lots going on out there. If you want to make some nice photos of your garden, take your time, look for a variety of angles and simplify, simplify, simplify. All of these are shot at ISO200, f/5.6 and, since there was a slight breeze, a shutter speed of 1/500. My goal was to isolate a small section of each plant. Since the sun was shining brightly on the rose bushes, I used my body to put the roses into shadow so I could emphasize the bee, the petals and the leaf texture. The lone lilac bloom was lovely but the garage siding isn’t particularly attractive so, by using a long focal length (135mm) and a reasonably wide aperture I was able to blur the background to an almost solid gray, letting the lovely lilac flower star!

I hope you’ve had a wonderful summer. It’s not over yet, but as the days grow ever shorter, it gets more and more important to get out there and enjoy it while we can!

White Rose

White Rose

They call these the dog days of summer. Hmmm. I wonder why? ‘Til next time.

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Also posted in BLOG, Canada, gardening, New Brunswick, photography, seasons Tagged , |

A perfect summer wedding

Tiffany and Laurie Shaw August 17, 2013

Tiffany and Laurie Shaw
August 17, 2013

The happy couple couldn’t have asked for a better day for their wedding. Friends and family gathered to share in the celebration of the union of not just two people, but two families into one.

Now that the bride and groom have seen the photos I can share them. It’s hard to be the photographer and a teary-eyed aunt at the same time! The air was filled with joy and I wish Mr. & Mrs. Shaw and their new family a long and happy life together.

Also posted in BLOG, family, GALLERY, New Brunswick, photography Tagged , , |

You CAN go home again

It was a beautiful morning today so I decided to take a drive to Hampton to visit an equestrian facility that was hosting a small hunter jumper show. As I arrived at “Foshay South Eventing” I was thrilled to see how much effort the new owners had put into rejuvenating the place and returning it to the wonderful place it was when I used to board and train my horse there eons ago.

Carved out of the wilderness in the late 1980s by Alison and Michael Gallagher, it was run as the Gallaway Ridge Training Centre for over a decade. When they moved on to other pursuits, the facility was sold to Ingrid  Warning who ran it as the Evergreen Riding Centre until last year when it was sold again.

The new owners, Dr. Rob and Suzanne Stevenson, have invested heart and soul into upgrading and redeveloping the facility now known as Foshay South Eventing. It did my heart good to walk up the laneway to the large show ring at the top of the hill and see it filled with jumps, ready for the show. Those who came were delighted with everything about the place, the show and the good time everyone seemed to be having. For me it was a jaunt down memory lane. I ran into friends, some of whom I haven’t seen since I used to show my own horse there, and spent a lot of time reminiscing about our former glory days and how very nice it was to see shows happening there again.

So – cheers to Foshay South and best wishes for your future plans!

Also posted in All Things Equine, GALLERY, hobby farms, horse photography, horse photos, horses, photography Tagged |

The sweet smell of new mown hay

Fields full of round bales

Fields full of round bales

There is nothing to compare to a walk at dawn on a warm summer morning, with Hoover of course, just after hay fields have been cut and baled. The sweet smell of newly mown hay is pure ambrosia!

Bales as far as the eye can see

Bales as far as the eye can see

Everywhere you look there are bales waiting to be picked up later today and stored to feed the cows this winter.

_L2H4802 - Version 3Despite the extremely hot weather we’ve had for the past few days, the soil in the fields is still saturated from all of the rain earlier in the season. It has made life very difficult for farmers who haven’t been able to get their heavy equipment onto their fields to do their work. Haying is late this year and I wonder if they’ll be able to even get a second cut? Of course, if the seasons continue to be a month behind, it could happen.

Just waiting to be cut

Just waiting to be cut

Meanwhile, the field on the other side of the road is waiting to be cut.

Lush and green thanks to the care given by the farmer.

Lush and green thanks to the care given by the farmer.

Since we are surrounded by hay fields, I’m sure Hoover and I will enjoy many more morning like this one. It’s the smell of summer!

 

 

Also posted in BLOG, New Brunswick, seasons Tagged , , , |

113 years old

Mulberry Lane hayfield in the sun

Mulberry Lane hayfield in the sun

Today would have been my adopted mother’s 113th birthday. She grew up in the mountains of British Columbia near the then-tiny town of New Denver. Although she went on to be a ‘city girl’, she really never lost her appreciation for nature.

I thought of her this morning as I walked down Mulberry Lane smelling the fresh-cut hay, tedded into rows, drying in the warm sun and waiting to be baled. Imagine the things she would have seen in her lifetime between 1910 and today? It boggles the mind.

So, on this warm and sunny July 13th I wish her a very Happy Birthday!

Also posted in appreciation, BLOG, Canada, family, morning, nature, New Brunswick, rural living lifestyle, seasons Tagged , , |

The humidex said WHAT??????????

When you live in Maritime Canada extreme heat is a rarity and we poor souls, so ready to survive sub-zero winter temperatures, are ill-equipped to handle a combination of heat and humidity (the humidex) that equates to 40C or 104F. There’s only one solution – head for the shore. So, that’s what hubby and I did. We drove to St. Martins.

It seems like a lot of other people had the same idea. First stop? A little ice cream stand on the roadside as your turn into the little town. I could barely slurp fast enough to keep my cone from melting all over my hands and clothes.

Then, a short drive through the town to the beach area by the caves. We parked on the roadside and sat in a gazebo enjoying the remarkably warm breeze blowing in across the Bay of Fundy. A hardy group of kayakers were paddling in toward the harbour against the falling tide. That must have been quite a herculean effort.

Kayakers paddling for shore in St. Martins - a long way to go against the falling tide.

Kayakers paddling for shore in St. Martins – a long way to go against the falling tide.

The next time I looked, they’d managed to get noticeably closer to shore, the harbour and safety.

Getting there.

Getting there.

Along the rocky beach abutting the chilly waters of the bay, small groups of visitors and families explored the shore and tempted fate by testing the water temperature with one or two toes.

I grew up in Saint John and learned to swim in the Bay of Fundy. I can tell you, it’s COLD. An offshoot of the North Atlantic ocean, the water in the Bay of Fundy rarely exceeds 8C (46F) even at the height of summer. So, if you plan to swim there, plan on running in quickly before you change your mind! Once in, you’ll be so numb it won’t matter any more. This is not recommended for anyone with a heart condition!

The bay’s cool water does, however, have a mitigating effect on the very hot temperatures we experience living just 40km inland. The sky was gray and misty, and the wind was still warm coming in from the Bay even though the water itself was more than a little chilly – a testament to the extreme temperatures were are experiencing at the moment.

_L2H4248 - Version 2St. Martins beach_web

Taking a photo of someone taking a photo – a souvenir of their visit to the beach at St. Martins – while the kayakers keep stroking for home.

 

Walking on the rocky beach can be challenging.

Walking on the rocky beach can be challenging.

 

From the beach you can see the town and church spire in the background - around the curve of the shore.

From the beach you can see the town and church spire in the background – around the curve of the shore.

 

Meanwhile others are waiting for the tide to recede so they can explore the caves before the tides return cutting off all access.

Meanwhile others are waiting for the tide to recede so they can explore the caves before the tides return cutting off all access.

All in all, a lovely way to spend our ‘day off’ – cooling off by the Bay of Fundy.

 

 

 

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