BenTha'er-Horizons

Loafing-"You Didn't Build That" Redux

Having a sense of humor is so important. Especially in the current times where there is so much hostility, control, and nastiness. Abbott and Costello are the best of the best for me. “Whose on First” is the ultimate comedy routine out there and my favorite. I watched their movies when I was a child whenever I could and will still set aside time to do so. One routine that seems to have escaped my purview was one they did on “Loafing”. It is hilarious and seems to fit in today’s world well with the problems with jobs, the economy, dependency by some Americans, and the lack of respect from our Administration for job creators and small business. Please watch the video and enjoy!

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Second Tapestry

Here is the second historical tapestry at the Fort Royal museum.........

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Over 100 volunteers worked together to design and stitch these tapestries covering the history of Port Royal for the Acadians and Fort Anne for the British influence. (VT)
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Tapestry at Port Royal

I am back to reading the book, “A Great and Noble Scheme”. The section covered now is just prior to “Le Grand Derangement” in 1755. The Acadians had a rich life in that they enjoyed their families and farmed the surrounding land well. It is unfortunate that this lifestyle was caught between the continental tug of war and colony interests of the English and French with religious connotations tossed in. As we toured the fort museum, we were able to view beautiful tapestries of their history by Acadian descendants. As you can see from the photo, the colors are outstanding and very rich. This would be wonderful in any setting. (VT)

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More Joy of Children

One photo I really enjoyed taking was of a little girl dressed as a Southern Belle at Shirley Plantation. This plantation is the longest family-owned business/plantation in the United States. We had a nice visit there last summer at the end of June. The family still farms the plantation.

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Joy of Children

Energy and charm that just exudes from them. Watching children can be fun. Taking pictures can be even better. It is fun to catch them in unguarded moments as they explore the world. I have been trying to do more photos of kids because they are often moving and doing interesting things.

I enjoyed taking the following photo of a young boy having fun at the stopover on top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. His family were trying to get him to react to them by raising his arms. He was so cute to follow through. It added to my pleasure too because it was the first full day of our vacation and I felt that uninhibited emotion of raising my arms in “joy” of being “free of commitments”._DSC4732
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Conversations

One reason this website was first set up three years ago was because of my interest in coaching. Part of coaching is active listening, asking questions, and encouraging conversations with and among others. One book I really enjoyed and took a course twice on was Fierce Conversations” by Susan Scott. The courses were taught by two wonderful people that I think of highly and consider friends. The people are Dr. Jeff Thoren and Sally Stamp of Gifted Leaders. I cannot recommend them more to others for coaching and facilitation. They care about the people and the results.
Today, I participated in a one hour webinar from DialogueWORKS on the 9 Points of Good Dialogue. It was interesting and also a followup to what I have learned before. It is important to listen to what others say, not pre-judge, and ask authentic questions. Care about what you might learn from others. In some of the area of emotions playing a part in our conversations, he mentioned “We don’t know what we know!” and “Tone is the emotion that fills us up.” Or in our house, we would joke with the kids--“Maintain low tones!”. The fellow with me in the picture below listened and heard my need to park close to The Citadel in Halifax so I did not have to walk up a steep hill with my right knee. He was so kind to have a photo taken with me when we came back for the car.

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Wedding Photos

Well, today was a day of resolving “bad” appliance and electronic problems. The microwave would need a new control panel that costs as much as a new microwave. The dishwasher had a failed valve so we got a new one and planned to replace the one on the lower drawer portion too. My laptop’s new memory module failed and will be replaced so it could have been worse, like a new hard drive replacement.

Who wants to dwell on boring news. A number of the wedding photos have come back for David and Renee. It was a lovely wedding and the photos have turned out very nice. I would like to see more of how our place looked after all of the hard work undertaken for the wedding. We think it all went well and people enjoyed themselves while here. One can be proud of everyone’s efforts in all of this and the outcome.

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David, Renee, and Nicolas
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Frog at Jordan Pond

I finally finished uploading all the relevant photos from the trip to our Cloud album and to our CEIVA receiver in the family room. It has always been fun to look over and see what photos are cycling through the receiver that day. And it is particularly enjoyable when I am able to add a new batch to the what is available. I was so excited one day to look over and see a photo of the Ha’Penny Bridge over the Liffey River in Dublin on the receiver screen. I think it was more of a double-take because it had my name on it as photographer. I had submitted the photo for a contest with CEIVA and here it was being shared with many others over the photo wire. HappyThis photo work episode inspired me to watch the photos as I uploaded them. For some reason, I enjoyed the one we got of the little frog in the water at the edge of Jordan Pond on Desert Island in Maine.
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“Froggie go a courtin’, uh huh!” While trying to line up newsfeeds to use here and on the community Facebook page, I came across a website with great photos for the year.
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Anne and Lucy

Why is “Anne of Green Gables” so fascinating and intriguing for people that there is such a cottage industry built up around the author’s childhood home? I have visited Margaret Mitchell’s home in Atlanta and while it gets a lot of attention, there is not nearly the people visiting nor the infrastructure surrounding it. Does Anne have a deeper grip on our inner person, do we relate more to her than Scarlett of Gone WithThe Wind? Or does Atlanta have so many other draws that drain away a lot of the interest in Scarlett, therefore Margaret Mitchell?I loved both books in different ways. Anne reached out to me as an only child with her forays into her new world and trying to fit in at home and at school. LMM’s relatives who maintain her legacy said she wrote in her diaries every day. The diaries are now being published over time slowly by her relatives. One could purchase the prior volumes at the homesite bookstore. I bought a small Anne figure for my desk and an interesting book of photos and writings of and about LMM there. The family autographed the book for me though I assume they do that for many people there. It is comforting to sneak a little bit of your childhood into your life. (VT)IMG_3872
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Haunted Woods

Did you ever have a “haunted woods” in your area when you were growing up? When we visited the childhood home of Lucy Maud Montgomery in Cavendish, PEI, Canada, the trail to the visitors center lead through the “haunted woods”._DSC5094I grew up in the White Oaks neighborhood in Lebanon OR. It was a pretty middle class place though considered a nice neighborhood for the town. We had “The Loop” to ride bikes around and one part was a downhill slope. Was it cool to ride down this without hands on the bars and peddles. It always seemed a long way around “The Loop” and when you are older, the size is pretty diminished. Happy Just off the loop was a side trail that went into “The Big Oaks”. A person really needed to ride quickly through this dark set of trees and trails since the area was sinister by all our story telling in those days. Childhood imaginations, what a great gift to our too steady lives today. (VT)
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County Fair

This weekend has been the time for our annual Linn County Fair. Bob has been a trooper and agreed to help again this year to feed the volunteers. It takes pretty much a full day’s worth of hours to drive back and forth and serve the food. They have been able to work out good menus of getting food from CostCo to make sandwiches, salads, pizzas, and BBQ burgers and hot dogs that seem to go over well. They have also found that the pasta meals from Pizza Hut with their breadsticks goes over well and works out quite well for a dinner.

Me, I like to wander over to the “fair food” section and scope out the “not good for you” goodies. The curly french fries, the brick of fries, corn dogs, elephant ears, and had a sample of deep fried apple slices-- Yum! I made a quick trip around the exhibits, mostly the photography part, just to see what I can aspire to. I didn’t make it out to the animal barns or to the pig races.

It is great to see faces you know and talk to neighbors while there.I used to exhibit sheep and cattle at the fair when in high school so I get very sentimental with all of this. A sense of community is important........especially noted after the Aurora CO gun attack on a movie theatre the same day. That city is pulling together and supporting each other. Living in a small community does give that sense of closeness. That is also why we have tried to stay active in Neighborhood Watch and promote the program at prior Linn County Fairs (see photo). (VT)

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Learning Continues

The learning must continue and how to be more handy also.

It certainly seems as if problems come in 3s, maybe even more. Our microwave has had the digital screen fading in and out over some months now. We can jazz it up by flipping the breaker switch and it will work for awhile. Yesterday, right in the middle of a dishwashing cycle, our Fisher and Paykel dishdrawer flipped an error code and started beeping at us. This is not good beyond the hassle and cost. It is not easy we have found to get a service person for this brand of dishwasher. It will be a major-major brand for the next one. You buy nice products that seem upscale brands, you buy upscale headaches if you live in the country and away from bigger cities. The mid-valley would be a good place for a good appliance repair person to set up a business.

Now, my Mac Pro laptop came up with a “death” screen this morning. A curtain of gray descended on it while working and up popped in multiple languages (it has to be bad if in Japanese too) that I must restart the computer by pushing the power button and then pushing it again. Just a gray screen with code and this message is the result. So it will be off to Paul’s Computer Repair tomorrow and hope for the best. Paul Aziz is also the photography instructor who encouraged the blog a day. Talking with his wife, they will be going to the Linn County Fair today just like we are doing. I had to pull my Time Capsule backup of the blog over to my IMac to stay current and not lose what I have done. Right now, the entries are disordered so that may be a problem in itself.

I have Facebook for the Berlin Oregon Community up and going. Now I will have to look for some friends to hook into it. It is never dull.
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"You didn't build that..."

I have tried very hard over time to keep political views personal or within the family. It is so easy to strain friendships and relationships over differences of opinion in this area. If you wish to avoid politics altogether, I would skip this post.

I do have to write though over what I feel are very disturbing, yet enlightening, comments by the current President where he recently spoke about those with an entrepreneur spirit in our country. I have heard the comments from his supporters that he meant “roads and bridges” in this speech. Hogwash! The recent actions where Welfare Work Rules can now be waived due to an Executive Order, not a change in law, puts it into context for me. Bob saw a sign in Halifax, Nova Scotia that said, “Who will be the workers?” One really does wonder where will be the workers to support all those who “truly didn’t build that”.

I built a small business, a veterinary hospital, from pure scratch. I had a baby and a small child when I signed a 7 year lease on a 1400 sq. ft. space and I had NO clients and patients. Who else carried the risk? I would have been stuck paying the landlord for rent if I failed, not the government, and not our current President. Was he there when I had to get up and check a patient at 1 a.m.? Was he there sharing the responsibility to keep a business functioning because you have 15 people’s livelihoods on your shoulders? I don’t think so. I have not been a fan of the current resident of the White House though I try to respect the Presidency. I often think he does not always respect it when he uses his office and thug tactics to pit different groups of Americans against each other. I just don’t remember this happening to such a degree in the past and am distressed to see what is happening. People are responsible for living with their choices in life. At least I believe so, though that seems to be less and less so now.

I do think Jon Lovitz hit it out of the park with this example of “You didn’t build that..” (VT)
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"Whales of Canso"

One of the biggest dilemmas of our trip was whether to take a day to go whale watching when it had not been one of our plans. Whale watching excursions are a big thing on Nova Scotia for tourists and many go out from Digby Neck at the tip. It sounded really fun especially after we heard Bob and Susan had gone out the day before on a Zodiac boat and got to see a whale calf playing up close to its mother.

Some of the issue was that it would take some planning to get there on time and have tickets. There was at least 2 ferries and about 50 miles to get to the boat. Bob and Susan said their boat had to go out a long ways, maybe 30 miles or so to find the whale pod where there was no sight of land at all around. Somewhat disconcerting. We also wanted to spend some time seeing the Acadian coastline toward Yarmouth. In the end, we did go wine tasting and saw the wonderful churches down the coast.

It was disappointing to pass on possibly seeing whales because I always seem to miss getting a glimpse. We have been whale watching over New Year’s time when they set up whale watching stations along the Oregon Coast. I think it is often serendipity to be able to see wildlife. You see them when they let you see them and when you least expect them. It was with total surprise and pleasure to see this group of whales frolic near the shore. What a show, and free at that! Watching the “Whales of Canso” you can feel that sense of freedom, joy, and play and want to join in. (VT)
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"Quiet"

Somehow I did not get a blog in yesterday so I must do two today and since we got our package of “goodies” that we shipped from Bangor ME one week ago, this is the second for today.

Another trigger for me to start using and enjoying my interests like photography comes from someone I know asking me last year, “What do you do for fun?” It was distressing to think that I am frequently not letting myself relax and enjoy my interests and passions. Many times I let the complexity of how to do them overwhelm me and not at least give it the “good old college try”. Reading is one of my passions and my slogan is “READING IS BREATHING.”

One book I had made note of and planned on getting was “Quiet” by Susan Cain or subtitled, “The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.” I have taken the Meyers-Briggs test and am a good fit for an ISFJ.
The “I” definitely means that I am an Introvert and I say with a big “I”. I have to coax myself to move out from that umbrella term and reach out to meet new people or strangers. One has to do this if they want to do the best thing for the groups they work with. It is often the best thing for us anyway. I have met some very nice people by reaching out.

The one thing I know is that I do get frustrated that as an introvert I am often taken for granted by others or the “larger than life” types fill the void you leave and one then might as well be a speck on the wall. On the jacket of “Quiet” it states--- “ ‘Quiet’ shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so.”
One thing that means is that I first must not undervalue myself. Look up “Quiet” too. (VT)

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Lobstering

You find you really should like and want to eat seafood if you spend any time in Maine or the Canadian Maritimes. At this time of year, lobster is available most places. Lobster Rolls are very common along the Maine coast and we saw them advertised a lot around Bar Harbor.

The lobster is mixed with a mild “sauce” that is probably a mayonnaise type base. The rolls the lobster is placed on are interesting because they look a bit like a slice of thick toast that has a flat bottom about 1.5 inches wide with the two bread sides. This type of roll is actually better than a Hot Dog bun because it does hold the food inside much better. It just looks really strange!

Lobster boats are everywhere and Lobstermen the same at just about every small coastal town and harbor. These individuals are up at 4 to 4:30 a.m. during the season (May to July). They start checking their lobster traps close to shore and up to maybe one mile out. One fellow we met at the B and B we stayed at in St. Joseph du Moine put out about 300 traps to check every day. Of course, they have to measure them and check claw size, females for eggs, and other factors. One look at the symmetry of lobster traps........

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The reason I am writing about lobstering is that while we were traveling home, there was a news article about how lobster prices have dropped for Maine lobstermen. There has been a glut of soft-shelled lobsters on the market and the season started sooner. The drop in prices is making it difficult to make any profit currently. Lobstering looks like hard work though in the Maritimes, those lobstering seemed to live in comfortable settings or homes.

Just another area we are struggling with in the USA, with the decrease in Maine lobster prices.
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Winn and "Winnie"

Tomorrow will be a busy day trying to work on some Winn tasks and doing phone calls for different parts of Winn.

I thought I would make today’s post a mention about Winn’s new mascot, “Winnie”, who was brought to life by Jamie Perry, the artist from Glen Ellen CA. I have asked some friends for input about “Winnie” and the comments back so far have been positive. Feedback is always helpful and positive feedback even more so. So here is the first of the new look in the Winn enewsletter with the introduction of “Winnie”. Welcome to the cat world!

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Catching Up

Well, I have made my lists of tasks to be done and the house also needs cleaning. How depressing after such a lovely time away! I need to do my daily post and make an effort to go back and place new photos from the trip in the blog.

One thing I was amazed at while we traveled was how the different cultures sprung up next to each area and in such short distances. In one spot, we would feel such a Scottish influence and in another down the road, see such an Acadian influence. As I mentioned, one of my highlights was listening to a young Acadian girl in her Evangeline costume at the Eglise Saint Bernard play her fiddle (or her violin as she said she also played classical music). I enjoy having the video of her playing. Here is a photo of her though not a close up unfortunately.

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As you can see the lovely interior of this Catholic church. The arches overhead were striking and there was an organ in the back loft. I can imagine a musical production here would be outstanding.

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What's In A Name?

I realize that I have not spent any time at the start explaining the meaning behind the “BenThaer-Horizons” website name.

When I first considered doing a website 3 years ago, I was strongly looking at going into Coaching-work and lifestyle type. I am still interested in that field though I found I could not focus the time and money to do what it takes. One also needs a business plan or just a plan to make it successful, productive, and, hopefully, money-producing. So that is where the Horizons part comes in. I do want to think about new horizons and fresh outlooks to take a positive, hopeful look at life’s opportunities. Bob and I also love Scotland--the lochs, the glens, and the bens (mountains). There are a lot of mountains around us here in Oregon. If you combine Ben and Thayer (shortened to Tha’er, the domain name can’t take apostrophes, so Thaer), we felt it sounded like someone would say, “BenThaer” as we would joke when we would see an article or picture of a particular place, “We’ve been there”!
Convoluted, yet Thayer logic.

Well today is going to be a catch up day, plus tomorrow and the day after. I will have to get back to making lists of items that I must accomplish for the Winn Feline Foundation. I also need to learn more about this website software and podcasting, etc. Lots of little tasks to work on.

So to enjoy more of that today, a lovely sunny summer day in Oregon, here is a shot of a wonderful field of color just north of Silverton OR we saw on our drive home yesterday morning. We have our dogs home and the kitties are happy to see us. Oscar is talking more to us that he has in the last 4 years we have had him. I can just hear it, “Please don’t go away again!”

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Yesterday was Bangor Maine

Waking up at the Shilo Inn near the Portland Airport, it is hard to believe that our wake up call yesterday was in Bangor Maine. It was a bright hot day in the Northeast yesterday, though not muggy. The weather in Boston was similar to what we would find in the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

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We found the airport facilities quickly and got the rental car returned. The Alaska Airlines gate area was comfortable and there were electrical outlets available for the intrepid. A view from Boston harbor to Logan International airport as planes line up.

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The flight was uneventful and we had a beautiful view of Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Hood as they lined up down the Cascades on our approach into Portland. The Thayers were tired so staying the night at the Shilo Inn made sense. Now on to home and our family and animals.

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Back to Boston, Flying to Portland

It is back to Boston day today. Our flight leaves around 5 p.m. and we will need to turn the rental car in. It has been a memorable trip and one I would love to do again. The gentleman seating us for breakfast said he would often take his children to PEI for camping on the beaches. It would be a great vacation place for Maine folks with kids. I want to show recognition here for our trip from the start until we left PEI.

IMG_3286Boston Harbor and city, June 26.

And memories of the culture of Nova Scotia and PEI, a demonstration of drumming at the Piping School.

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To the colorful countryside, fields, and water of Prince Edward Island on July 9.

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Leaving PEI and Canada

As the evening ended last night and we drove back to Summerside, there was a spectacular sunset off to the west. We saw it over the fields and wished we could have viewed it over the Gulf of St. Lawrence along the north coast. Here is an example of a sunset over PEI.

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Today, we said goodbye to PEI with the hope to return some future day. Our B and B hosts gave us advice on where to get a photo of the Confederation Bridge located between PEI and New Brunswick. The bridge is about 8 km. long, and the longest bridge over a body of water that freezes.

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We had about a slightly over 6 hour drive from Summerside on PEI to Bangor ME. The border crossing was quick and we were welcomed back to the States. It is a very isolated drive on Hwy. 9. Many homes and businesses are abandoned. I think this could be the loneliest highway in America in my opinion, not Hwy. 50 in Nevada. (VT)
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Prince Edward Island

Yesterday was the main day we had to get a small taste of Prince Edward Island. We got around early and headed north from Charlottetown for the Central Coast route. The main goal for part of the day was for me to visit Cavendish. This is the town where Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of the Anne of Green Gables series of books, lived until she was 37. The area and her life experiences gave her the background to create the charming girl, Anne, of the red braids and straw hat. The books were my lodestone for reading when I was young and instilled in me my hunger for reading. As an only child, I could grab onto and absorb the concept of “kindred spirits”. How special to be able to see something that has had such an impact on your life. We first visited the grounds and remaining real homestead where she lived with her grandparents. LMM’s grandnephew and his wife still manage the site and gave a lovely description of the area and her life. About 1 mile away, the visitor’s centre for the Green Gables historic site covers the house of LMM’s great uncle where she would spend a lot of time and also
influenced in her writing.


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We continued around the central coast route and stopped by French River. The countryside is striking because you have a mix of the fishing industry, small communities, and the farm crops. French River is a great example of the colors noted on PEI.

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Another spot we stopped at was St. Mary’s Church at Indian River. They will hold festivals and concerts at this church. We met a couple who had been married there and heard some of the history. It had been a Catholic Church and in recent years has changed to another denomination. The spire has the 12 Apostles located around the outside.

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Our final destination of the day was our B and B in Summerside called Island Home. Summerside is a popular destination on the south coast and a great central location to visit PEI. Our host, Pat, was helpful in suggesting a place for dinner and things to do. He also mades a very good breakfast. (VT)

While we waited to check in, we stopped in to the College of Piping and went to a free concert they had at 3:30 pm. The young instructors demonstrated piping, drumming, and dance steps. It is great to see institutions developed to keep these traditions going.

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In the evening, we headed over to Kensington which is about 8 miles away to eat dinner and attend a Ceilidh at a local church. The group was called The Long River Players and is made up of 2 men and 2 women with outside help from a step-dancer and their sound lady who plays keyboard. It was a foot-stomping, hand-clapping good time with the group. A very nice way to spend the evening.

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Goodbye to Cape Breton and Nova Scotia

As I was writing the blog for last night, the fog quickly rolled in from the ocean and covered the surrounding area. It was eerie and I felt a bit like being in a scene from the movie, “The Fog” with Jamie Lee Curtis and Janet Leigh. “Stay away from the fog, don’t go into the fog!” It was still foggy in the morning though cleared up quickly away from Louisbourg. We headed off along the southern scenic shore of Bras d’Or Lake along Highway 4 to head to the PEI ferry. This lake is a huge saltwater lake that practically divides Cape Breton Island in half.

As we started across the Canso Causeway to leave Cape Breton Island, Bob looked to our right and noticed a large number of people along a short promontory jutting into the water of the Causeway. Bob started going “Oh My, Oh My”. What was capturing his attention and everyone else’s was a pod of 10 plus whales near the shore that were diving and playing in the water. We turned around as quick as we could do it safely and came back to that location. The following picture is one of several we got of some of the whales. We also got some video of them and the people watching. People were calling friends--“You have got to get over here to see this!”. Everyone was so excited and it was such a show, a free one at that. We felt the whales were giving us “The Wave” as they frolicked to say Goodbye to Cape Breton for us.

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After this wondrous enjoyment, we headed again for our ferry. Our luck was not holding and we just missed it. So, we had to wait at the ferry terminal for the next one. It was a beautiful trip across the Northumberland Strait to PEI. We had music from two musicians and it was sunny and warm. We had heard great things about PEI and how beautiful it is. Red soil, white houses and fences, neat fields of potatoes, and green lawns. It all was true. It is a delightful area. The farming area reminds me at times of the rolling agricultural area between Stayton and Silverton, though with potatoes.

We have ended up staying the night in Charlottetown. Victoria Park near the harbour is beautiful and has a lovely walkway around the water.

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Louisbourg and Glace Bay

Compared to yesterday, the morning was sunny overall with high clouds. It was a gorgeous summer day and great weather to spend part of the day visiting the might Louisbourg Fortress. The original was destroyed by Wolfe in about 1760. Canada restored a period reproduction fortress in 1969 that currently covers about 20% of the area of the original. Considering how large this fortress is with its many buildings, the original site must have been huge! The Park Service has many people dressed in period costumes around the fort to allow visitors to see how the people lived and worked in that day. The fort was originally built by the French and was the largest fortress offering protection on the East Coast in its day. The French traded all over the area and worked with the native people, the Mi’kwaw. It was captured twice by the British until it was destroyed as mentioned before.

IMG_3731Louisbourg Fortress and buildings

As mentioned, there were a number of people greeting visitors while in period costume. Women in clogs, white hats, and dress aprons. Children in similar costume. Men in military uniforms or in work clothing of the times. One interesting piece was when they were driving 3 geese around the streets plus leading a ewe and lamb for a “celebrity TV cook” named Allen Cox(ey)?, possibly of BBC showings. He had a man filming the animals which from what I was told.......... the geese were old and probably would not have tasted very good. At least it wasn’t Gordon Ramsey, who would have screamed at everyone.

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And the women..........

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In the afternoon, we drove northeast to Glace Bay. It is the site of Marconi’s first transmission of wireless sound across the Atlantic to a site in Cornwall. The first step to our use of cell phones! A wonderful story of his struggles to accomplish this is in the book, “Thunderstruck”, by Erik Larsen. It was only a 30 minute tour of the museum yet it was special to me because of this book. They have a gentleman in the museum most days sending out wireless Ham radio signals and Morse Code across the world. We have come a long way in 110 years.

IMG_3739Table Head at Glace Bay, N.S.

Right after this visit, we went to the Miner’s Museum. We did not take the tour, though you can go down into a coal mine next to the sea. This area was the first coal mining done in North America. It was an interesting history. Unfortunately, the government felt that coal mining did not pay for itself and the mines were overall shut down by the 1990’s. There are still about 3000 miners in the area, down from about 12,000. (VT)
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Cape Breton Highlands to Louisbourg

Today’s plan was to venture up and over the Cape Breton Island peninsula. We said goodbye to our hosts at the Pilot Whale in St. Joseph du Moine. It was an interesting stay since the area is Acadian settled and our hosts speak English and Acadian French. Our French is too rusty and long ago to be of huge use in this setting. I do want to include a picture of the B and B and the surrounding country as we go.

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As we headed up the coast, we stopped at Aucoin’s Boulangerie, a French bakery with great bread. We approached the part of the National Park that has few to no roads near Pleasant Bay Harbour. You can see what wild country it looks like and there were clouds and mist over the mountains. Lots of deer, moose, coyotes, and other critters in those mountains.

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Stopping at one spot along the Ingonish area of the Cape Breton coastline, we could get a closer view of the beautiful shores, rough water, and the work of the lobster fishermen in their boats snagging lobster traps close to shore.

_DSC4995Snagging lobster traps

One interesting side trek we took was to Baddeck, along Bas d’Or Lake. This lovely little town was the summer home of Alexander Graham Bell and his family. He kept a laboratory here also. They have a national historic site museum here and it tells of his life and inventions. Bell started out his life working with the deaf and trying to bring a hearing world to them. His wife was hearing challenged. He also ended up being close friends with Helen Keller and helped expand her world. Bell was amazing in that he had a hand in inventing the telephone (of course), also worked with the telegraph, gramaphone, flying, kites, X-rays, genetics, and the hydrofoil. His work with flight went on to form the Lockheed company. His large home here near Baddeck was called Beinn Bhreaghm. The following photo is of the Bell museum. (VT)

IMG_3676Alexander Graham Bell Historical site
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Cape Breton Island, Day One

Today started off early with a 7 a.m. departure to Cape Breton Island. Our goal was to make the 11:30 a.m. Cailidh in Judique at the Celtic Music Cultural Centre. Both of us love Celtic music and have many albums. This area is the birthplace of Natalie MacMaster, Ashley MacIsaac, and the Rankins for just a small number.

We made the Cailidh with a little time to spare. “Failte” (fell-cha) greets us as we enter. “Failte” is “Welcome” in Gaelic. The Director of the Centre is Kinnon Beaton and he will play the fiddle for about one hour over the lunch period. We listen to music while eating a lovely seafood chowder full of scallops, crab, and lobster which is then topped off with a bread pudding with caramel sauce. The music is toe-tapping wonderful and we got some video of the different songs played. Here is Kinnon Beaton with Dewars playing piano. We even had an example of “Close to the Ground” Cape Breton step dancing.

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They have an exhibit area at the Centre where one can learn about jigs, reels, slow airs, and Strathspeys. They even have video to show you how to play a few notes of the fiddle and to do step dancing too.

We headed on further up the left coast of Cape Breton to our destination of St. Joseph du Moine, just south of Cheticamp. Our B and B is the Pilot Whale at St. Joseph. Not far from there, Bob saw a Bald Eagle just off the road and he was able to get a few photos of this magnificent bird. (A host at our B and B stated a moose was spotted a few days ago in a local bog. Not a common sight if you go looking for them).

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We headed into Cheticamp for dinner time. The outstanding structure is the Catholic church of Eglise Saint-Pierre. It had an beautiful interior as the other churches we saw on the Acadian coast.

IMG_3640Eglise Saint-Pierre at Cheticamp N.S.

Shortly after visiting the church, we drove out to the lighthouse at the entrance to the Cheticamp harbour. It is active and the light was going for all boats and ships at sea.

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It is fascinating as we travel across Nova Scotia. There are areas of more English influence such as near Halifax. As we traveled into the Cailidh Trail such as with Judique and Mabou, the signs are in English with Gaelic underneath. In the areas where the Acadians are more present, such as in Cheticamp, Grand Pre, and Saint Bernard, all the signs are first in French, then in English (the reverse is true in other areas of Canada). What an interesting culture and impact they have on their surrounding communities. (VT)
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Halifax Harbour

Today was our day to visit Halifax since we will hit the road early to see a Ceilidh in Judique on Cape Breton Island. We love celtic music and this area is certainly a center of it. Many good artists come from this region.

But I jump ahead. This morning we toured The Citadel. This is the main fortress on top of a hill overlooking Halifax harbour. It is now a tourist site yet was an active fortification for 200 years. There were many young men in dress uniform performing tasks. In questioning, we find that they are students primarily working and performing a role and not active military. They seem to do a good job and certainly appear authentic. The following is a picture of the Clock Tower at the base of the Citadel with the Convention Center just behind along with Halifax Harbour even farther in the distance. The Clock Tower is very distinctive landmark in the city.

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The Citadel was established in 1746 and the Noon Gun has been fired every day since 1856, maybe even since the 1700’s. We were fortunate to watch the military ceremony to load and fire the Noon Gun. You can see from this picture below how they were set up to fire.

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The Pipes and Drum corps were on hand at shortly after noon to play a rousing group of songs. I can see why at one time they banned the bagpipes as a war weapon since it can be rousing to follow the call of the pipes and drums. A great way to get in the mood for our celtic journey.

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The rest of the afternoon was spent touring the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. It had a lot of interesting exhibits under its roof. Two that caught my interest were one-- the display on the ships and people who laid communication cable from Nova Scotia or Newfoundland across the Atlantic to Britain or France over the last 100 years plus. Dangerous work with a need for many skills. One cable ship responded to the Titanic disaster since they were better able to retrieve the bodies that were found from the ocean surface. The other exhibit covered the terrible disaster that hit Halifax on the morning of December 6, 1917. A French munitions ship, the Mont Blanc, was entering the harbor and was hit by a Norwegian vessel, the Imo. A fire started and burned on the Mont Blanc. The French sailors knew the danger and left the ship to take shelter in nearby woods. Many of the people in Richmond (this section of Halifax) were unsuspecting or went to sightsee. A massive explosion leveled the area killing thousands and injuring possibly 25,000. A personal note in a film shown at the museum said one family lost 25 members. So very sad. (VT)

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America's Birthday...Happy 4th of July

To all our Family, Friends, and Neighbors in the States..................Happy Fourth of July!!!!!!!!!

I found a few photos from a trip to Maryland. My way of celebrating from the land of the Canucks. (VT)

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And now to say again...........HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!!!
(Bang........bang.......pop..pop................BANG!

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The Evangeline Trail

It was with sadness that we left our hosts in Annapolis Royal. Bill and Ann Marie were about the best B and B hosts you could find. We shared a number of stories and laughs while there. We met a lovely couple, Bob and Susan, from Halifax during the first two days. They were so kind to share some of their lobster purchased over on the Bay of Fundy. Fortunately, Susan was an expert at cracking lobsters since we are ham-handed. It was so good! Now, when it comes to pig, Susan is less apt. They went to the local Pig Feed just down the road at the community center on the night of Canada Day. We wanted to go and could not get tickets for the same time. When it came time that the roasted pigs were carried out “in whole” and served right off the pig, Susan said she could not look at the pig or eat it. The production and look were too much for her.

Well, on to packing up and going down the Annapolis River Valley to follow the Evangeline trail. The farm land was impressive, especially around Kentville and the Acadian dyke land of Grand Pre. Grand Pre is the center of “Le Grand Derangement”. On july 28, 1755, the Acadians (the men) were invited to meet with the area’s Governor. While there, they were surrounded by troops and promptly separated from their families to be transported to ships and dispersed to other areas. This is the start of the Acadians being sent to New Orleans, Quebec, New England, and France. Despite the dispersement, the Acadians have survived and carried on their traditions. They could not have had a better spokesperson as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his poem, Evangeline.


_DSC4912Evangeline statue at the National Park

The National Park service has a lovely museum and headquarters in Grand Pre. The Park covers about 14 acres with lovely gardens and it also looks over the dykelands the Acadians developed. There is a memorial church on the grounds and it gives more history and color to the trials of the Acadians. Just this last Saturday, the Park Service found that this site had been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of 16 in Canada (three in Nova Scotia).

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While at the church, I noticed two children enjoying the church cat. The young man said he loved cats............my kind of people. So Bob got a photo of us with Evangeline, the 16 year old church cat.

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We got to Halifax about 4 p.m. and prepared to attend the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo at the Convention Center in Halifax. The Tattoo was spectacular and full of talented people. The U.S. was represented by the Band of America’s Few. It is made up of retired Marine band members. The focus this year was on the Queen’s 60th Jubilee year, the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, and the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. Highlights were the 1812 Overture at the end of the first act and the high wire scaffold act above the center arena floor of the Paris Police Officers Group who perform impressive gymnastics. The pipes and drums at the Tattoo. (VT)

2012-07-03_18.36.24Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo

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Wine Tasting and the Acadian Coast

July 2 was a very pleasant day of sightseeing. We drove west and south to visit the Bear River community. It is developing into a wine area and we stopped at Annapolis Highlands winery. They have a Pinot Gris that is good and different from a Pinot Gris made in the West of the United States. It is a bit more tart, less sweet than an Oregon wine. After a great lunch at My Dream Cafe on the Bear River (and it is on, since part of it is on stilts in the river), we drove down the Acadian coast.

One pretty stop was the Gilbert Cove Lighthouse on the way to St. Bernard’s. It was interesting because we watch a seagull harass a Bald Eagle near the lightlhouse.

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St. Bernard’s has the largest stone church in North America. It is very large and impressive from a distance. While visiting, a young Acadian girl came to see her brother at the church and started practicing her violin. I got 2 great clips of her playing. It was very special and she was lovely and very good at her craft. The church is renowned for its acoustics and many international artists have played there. I would say the acoustics are special.

IMG_3496Eglise’ St. Bernard

About 5-7 miles further down the road is another large wooden church at Church Point. This is a very unique church with many wonderful stained glass windows. It has a wonderful story and the interior walls are lined with canvas. The following is an example of the church and then its stained glass.


IMG_3505Eglise’ Saint Marie

IMG_3508One of the 20 odd stained glass windows.

Last but not least, the full moon over the Annapolis River at high tide. What a beautiful sight! (VT)

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O' Canada

Now that I have better internet access, I am going to work on catch up for the blog. I will probably enter days or interests in different blog entries so it does not get too long.
Sunday, July 1, was Canada Day. We decided to participate in the local town’s festivities (Annapolis Royal). We first went downtown to visit the shops and see the local museums. The first one we visited, Sinclair Museum, was small yet interesting. It was an example of an Acadian tavern from the 1700’s that showed the wood and stone structure through cut-outs of the walls and floors. Just outside we saw one of the town cats strolling the sidewalk greeting people.

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Or observed two Westies and a Scottie checking out the wooden boardwalk with their owner.

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At 11:30 a.m., we were at the town hall steps listening to the Town Crier and his two young apprentices, along with the Mayor of Annapolis Royal, read the Canada Day proclamation. We joined in to wave Canadian flags and sing O’Canada. While I respect the Queen and wish her all health, I cannot sing God Save The Queen since we did have a Revolution to not have royalty as our head of government. Bells were rung, proclamations unfurled, and a flag raised.

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We followed the crowd from the city hall along the path to Fort Royal to the Canada cake cutting and hot dog grilling area. The local band played several wonderful songs under the shade trees near the battlements. In another area, there were try outs for a future town crier. “Hear Ye, Hear Ye, my name is “Oliver Stephen Bonnington” was firmly shouted while ringing the bell.

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The people were very friendly and as we were leaving, Oliver’s Dad came over and wished us a wonderful rest of our vacation. It was very special to see how this little ceremony demonstrated the pride and enjoyment the Canadians have in their traditions. They were supportive of each other and their community. We visited Fort Royal’s museum before we left the festivities and learned about its function as a military fort for the area. There had been 13 major battles there and the fort had changed hands 7 times over its history.

Later that afternoon, we ventured off to the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens. The Gardens are highly regarded and a wonderful place to view. The roses were so fragrant, especially one variety, the Mrs. John Laing, from 1887. It had a tangy, sweet smell. (VT)

IMG_3448Mrs John Laing rose
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Annapolis Royal Sojourn

Bob and I have been staying at a B and B in Annapolis Royal area of Nova Scotia since Saturday night. It has been difficult to get the computer to access the internet so I have not been able to write on the blog as much. Hopefully, while in Halifax I can catch up. We are having a great time and there will be lots to share.

For a taste, I will post a picture of our B and B, A Seafaring Maiden, in the blog for the day. (VT)

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