Cape Split Revisited

26 05 2014

The last time we visited Cape Split, was in October 2012. What a thrill it was to hike this week-end and see the spring flowers. This tree has been left across the track, forcing walkers to limbo dance or skirt around it.


The forest floor was white with these little white flowers. They had 5 petals and looked a bit like wood anemones, but I can’t find their name.Image

Can anyone help me out? Are they Grass of Parnassus?


Like the tree across the path, this fallen pine was left to sit in the sky.


I love the vibrant pink of the Purple Trillium. I think Cape Split must have the most specimens I have seen anywhere.


There were just masses of plants.


I photographed this tree last time, but it has now lost one of its huge branches.


This is called Dutchman’s Breeches.


Seemingly, the flowers look like little pantaloons (upside down), hanging on a clothes line.


And of course the violets added colour everywhere.


At the end of the trail is Cape Split itself. The seagulls seemed to be happy that they were on an island.


This was the best shot I could get with my little camera, I should have had my other one.


There was more colour to see as we drove back through Scots Bay.

ImageI remembered, too late, that I was going to look for Ami McKay’s house at Scots Bay. She is the author of ‘The Birth House’ and the book is set in this rural location. I reread this book after my last visit to Cape Split and could imagine the characters as she described them.tbh-newest

A Typical Morning in Lunenburg

16 08 2013

Lunenburg has a population of just over 2,000, but in the summer months it fills up with visitors.

We enjoy a walk around the town in the morning, before the tourists are on the streets.

This is Monday morning, looking down to the Railway Wharf.


And across to the Bluenose Golf Course.


This is the same view on Wednesday morning.A1a

This is the Martha Seabury schooner, which was built here in Lunenburg.


During the summer months, this old fishing boat, The Cape Rouge, sits at the wharf. It is used in the filming of the TV series, Haven.


The Adams and Knickle building is undergoing renovation work.


The booths are open ready for trips on the ocean.


The nearest boat does harbour tours, the Eastern Points goes  whale watching and the Eastern Star, sailing trips.


The waterfront restaurants are open for breakfast.


But no one wanted to sit outside on Wednesday.


The horses are ready to take tourists on a tour of the old town.


And the Fisheries Museum will open to educate visitors on the history and past life of Lunenburg.


There is also a cruise ship in the harbour.


The Lagniappe, registered in the Marshall Islands, which you could charter for $110,000 per week!!!


The little shed beside the foundry is crooked and worn.


The latest boat at the foundry wharf. Am I back in Dundee – it is called the Discovery?


Looking across to Lunenburg from the golf course road,


to the colourful town and the Fisheries Museum.


But there was no view on Wednesday.

Even this osprey didn’t seem to see us.A9g

He flew just above our heads.


Then back into the nest with the young.


There’s always something to see, walking around Lunenburg.

Spring is here at last – well maybe!

31 03 2013

This Easter week-end has marked the beginning of some warmer weather here in Nova Scotia. Yesterday we went to Kejimkujik Seaside, which is a National Park.

You can see our walk on Googlemaps.

We started out by walking the rocky shore  along Boyd’s Cove and MacLeod’s Cove.A

There is a rough track in places


The sea was very blue – I did not touch up this photo.


Parts of the coastal track had been washed away the last time we walked here. Another path has been cut, a bit further from the shore, through the trees.


And the  boardwalk has been repaired in places or totally renewed, like this section.


Unlike Europe, the ‘history’ here is not very old. This is the ruin of the house of Hugh Cameron, a shepherd on St Catherine’s River Farm in the early 1900’s. But sheep farming here was a harsh existence and the land was eventually given to the Federal Government and became the Seaside Adjunct of the Kejimkujik National Park.


Yesterday, the bay was full of lobster boats, the better weather a pleasant change for these fishermen, who are only allowed to fish here on this part of the shore during the winter months! It has been a tough time for them – probably harder than sheep farming!


In my last post about this park, I added this photo of a wrecked boat that we spotted sitting high and dry on Little Hope Island.


There used to be a concrete lighthouse on the island until just after Hurricane Juan in 2003, when it collapsed.

This amazing photo was taken by Jeff Tutty of Hunts Point, Nova Scotia in August 2003 and the wrecked boat was already there!


Seemingly, the crew of the Lady Helen  fell asleep!!


I didn’t have my tele-photo lens with me yesterday, but the boat has gone and the rocky island is hardly visible above the water.

We continued round to the sandy beach


and walked as far as is possible.Beach-1

Then it was back to the car – a total of 14 km.

The forecast for this week is back to freezing most days, so maybe Spring isn’t here yet.

If you’d like to see Kejimkujik in the summer, with the birds and flowers, you can look at the blogs I wrote in 2009.

Mount Uniacke Estate Park

25 04 2011

On Saturday, we headed to Mount Uniacke Estate Park. The house here was built, in 1813, as a summer home for Richard John Uniacke, a Nova Scotian Attorney-General.

Of Irish descent, Uniacke  modeled the property after the Irish country estates he had known as a child.

The house is of Georgian design with large porticos.

There is the original carriage house

with a weather vane

An avenue of European ash trees goes from the house down to the lake, where there would have been a boat house.

Richard Uniacke called the lake Martha Lake after his wife.

We heard the laughing cry of a woodpecker and looked up to see a PILEATED WOODPECKER!!! above us. I have been hoping to see one of these birds since coming to Canada and saw one last week-end, when I had no camera.

This bird is about the size of a crow, but has this lovely red hat.

It was very busy making a nice nesting hole.

There are several hiking trails around the estate and we headed off for a good walk.

This is the Old Post Road, the original road from Halifax to Windsor. A stagecoach travelled this road daily, the 20 mile journey taking 4 hours! It must have been a comfortable trip!

There are a great many dead and dying trees on the estate.

Some looking quite majestic.

This squirrel was not pleased to see us.

Despite the dying trees, there is a fantastic regrowth of young trees.

In some places the trees cover the path.

We planned to take this track below, but it was like a river bed. We continued around the Wetlands Trail and still had to make several detours to avoid wading in water.

We made it back to the house and looked for the pileated woodpecker.

He had finished his construction, or destruction and had settled into his new home.

The house is now a museum, but was closed for the winter.

You can take a look inside on this virtual tour.

I see that the house originally had a flat roof!

I love the bedspread in the master bedroom that was woven in a mill in Lancashire. It must be nearly 200 years old and yet still looks like new.

Looking Forward to the Ospreys

24 03 2011

Every year I await the return of the Osprey.

In Scotland, the Osprey became extinct in 1916. They had been shot for their skins and the eggs stolen and sold to collectors. A pair were seen in 1954 but when they returned in 1955 and 1956, their eggs were stolen. In 1958, teams of volunteers guarded the nest, day and night, but even then they failed to prevent the destruction of the two eggs. In 1959, the nest at Loch Garten was declared a protected bird sanctuary and since then the Ospreys there have become a tourist attraction. But sadly there is always a battle with those who wish to kill the birds and steal the eggs.

There is no such problem here in Nova Scotia. In fact, the Osprey is such a common sight that people almost take them for granted.  They cannot believe how the Osprey has been persecuted in other parts of the world.

Everywhere, in forests, on golf courses, along the highways and around the coast line, you can spot Ospreys nests. These are often set on a man-made platform on the top of a tall pole.

The Osprey is about two feet long and has a wing span of almost five feet. It is a specialist at catching fish.

Here at Lunenburg we have a pair that return annually.

They have the best view of the town.

Last year we watched the two young grow until they filled the nest.

I was lucky to catch the mother returning with a fish for the chicks.

She delivered their supper

then she headed off again.

They seemed happy with the meal.

I hope it won’t be too long now before the Ospreys return to Nova Scotia, after their winter in Mexico and South America.

Anne of Green Gables

25 07 2010

Last week we visited Prince Edward Island with our friends Sandra and Bob from Scotland.

We did a tour of the Anne of Green Gables Museum at Cavendish. Anne of Green Gables  is a bestselling novel by the Canadian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery. The story tells the tale of a couple who wanted to adopt a boy, but were mistakenly sent an orphan girl. Despite their apprehensions they decide to keep her.

This is the house that the Green Gables stories were based on.

The house has farm buildings with all the usual old farm machinery- including a thresher.

And a nice old barrow.

Sandra and Helen enjoyed milking the Jersey cow.  This was no problem to them; after all they are ‘Anne of Green Gables’ girls from a farm in Scotland.

Inside the house there was a pantry.

With some Keiller’s marmalade!

A sewing room.

And the usual bedrooms.

The gardens were beautiful and filled with lovely flowers, like these blue Delphiniums.

Then there were walks down ‘Lovers Lane’ and the ‘Haunted Wood’.

I was sorry that this little bird wouldn’t stay longer for me to get a better picture. It is an American Redstart – a warbler and unrelated to the European Redstart. The female is yellow where the male is orange.

It was an interesting museum, but for us it was not too far removed from what we remembered from our youth. We must just be too old for museums in Canada!

Summer in Nova Scotia

11 06 2010

Summer has arrived once more in Nova Scotia and everything that has been asleep during the minus zero temperatures has come alive again. The first flowers to appear are the very lovely yellow dandelions, but for us they are  more of an infestation or epidemic, as they try to cover every square inch of grass. The month of May was spent, plucking them, digging them out by the roots, trying to kill them with  salt, vinegar and any other sure fired remedies found on the internet. But the dandelions live on. We do get  a respite until the next cycle in September.  Apart from just enjoying their colour, if anyone has any good recipes, then perhaps we should use them as a crop.

The apple blossom has already gone and we can look forward to an abundance of apples in the fall.

It is lupin season right now and each year we are amazed by the banks of lupins that bloom along the highways, walking trails and coves. I am always reminded of Monty Python’s sketch about roast lupins, braised lupins, lupin meringue pie, lupin sorbet……. I wish we could use them too.

The hawthorn blossom is brightening up the old railway trail at Lunenburg,

and the roses are just in bloom.

These dandelion like flowers look much finer that the ones that grow in our garden.

These very white flowers are bunch berry and later have bunches of red berries on them, which are seemingly edible, but perhaps not too fruity.

In the garden, the Gold Finches have their bright yellow summer plumage back.

The Blue Jay looks his usual handsome self.

And the Flicker is useful at eating up the ants.

The heron has always been a favourite of mine and we see  at least 4 a day around Back Harbour at Lunenburg.

This one looks a bit ungainly on top of this pine tree.

The ospreys have returned to the many, many platforms in the area. I will write a special blog just for them.