NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Friday, August 31, 2018

On Land and Sea

When Wayne suggested we bring the kayaks to Newfoundland I was a little skeptical, after all they were not designed for big water but rather for smaller rivers and lakes.

Our 10 footers not really for rough sailing

If you want a paddle in the big water you should have a true sea kayak for better stability and steering, not to mention a waterproof apron for when the water tries to come aboard.

Putting out at Swans Cove

Still, we did get one morning where it was calm enough (and we woke up early enough) to put the kayaks in the water right across from his mother's house in Placentia at Swans Cove.

We could only go up Southeast Arm he told me, not down Northeast Arm toward Placentia Bay because the tide would be too strong for us.  If you look in the photo above you can see the pull of the tide just behind Wayne as it goes in and out of the bay.

So off we went to check out Snack Cove, Little Judy Cove and Big Judy Cove.  In case you're wondering, everything has a name in Newfoundland whether big or small.

Wayne stops to watch the boat pass by alongside Dixons Hill

I learned a few new things like the hill up behind his house where the graveyard is located is called Dixons Hill.  I overheard a few stories involving that hill that made me think it was a miracle he ever lived to meet me.

We didn't stay out long and I'd have to say I'd still prefer lakes and rivers in a kayak, but it was nice to see the area from a different perspective.

What was even nicer was being out in the kayaks at all.  Between my shoulder and then my carpal tunnel in both hands and then Wayne's issues with his back we haven't used them in a couple of years.

Placentia graveyard on Dixons HIll

The graveyard sure looked small seen from the water, though I feel that way when I see the Freshwater graveyard from Castle Hill also.  We'll get to that another day.  Wayne did take his mother up there one day to visit her husband, her sister and her sons who have passed before her.  Of course she has other family buried at St. Leonard's.

When we paddled over to Dixons Hill we stopped for a few minutes to watch the Kingfishers darting back and forth but the iPhoneX is still no match for birds in action (or landscapes, or night photography either) so you'll have to take my word for it.  We also saw a loon and a cormorant, but besides the 2 boats that trundled past the morning was still and quiet.

Castle Hill on the right, Sacred Heart Church steeple visible too

We would have gone on longer but Wayne's back was bothering him so we headed back.  He's hoping a seat adjustment will solve the problem the next time we go out.  Or if we end up moving all our stuff up there next year we will have the tandem kayak and maybe that one will be more comfortable.  Wayne has no problem sharing his equipment (and often even giving things away) so if he can't use it anymore I'm sure someone will make use of it.

I still can't believe when we go home next year we'll be buying a big boat for crossing the bay...

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Sheep Shenanigans

For a bit of a laugh I thought I'd put the lyrics of "Aunt Martha's Sheep" together with the photos I took when I showed my fellow American cousin (from San Diego) around behind my Nan's house.  We dodged a lot of sheep poop, so it started there, and I don't know if he's heard this song yet, but I've a feeling his father may have gotten around to playing it for him because it's a fun one!

Come gather all around me and I'll sing to you a tale,
About the boys in Carmanville who almost went to jail.
It happened on a November's night when all hands were asleep,
We crept up over Joe Tulk's hill and stole Aunt Martha's sheep.

Fence will keep in the sheep, but not us!

Now if you pay attention I know I'll make you laugh,
They never went to steal the sheep, they went to steal the calf.
The old cow she got angry 'cause they woke her from her sleep,
We couldn't take any chances so we had to steal the sheep.

We can see Placentia from here!

We caught the wooly animal and dragged her from her pen,
She says good-bye to the little lamb she'd never see again.
She knew that those dark strangers soon would take her life,
In less than half an hour she felt that dreadful knife.

What's up here, Cousin Pam?

Aunt Martha she got angry when she heard about the loss,
She said she'd catch the robbers no matter what the cost.
Next morning just at sunrise she to the office went,
And to the R.C.M.P. a telegram she sent.

Harebells and Cinquefoil were along the hill

The Mountie got the message and started in to read,
This is from Aunt Martha telling an awful deed.
Last night my sheep was stolen by whom I cannot tell,
I'd like for you to catch them and take them off to jail.

Harebell playing host to the Northern Blue Plebejus idas - times two!

Just a short time later about twelve o'clock that night,
We had the sheep a'cooking and everyone feeling tight.
The smell of mutton and onions no man could ask for more,
We were chug-luggin' Dominion when a Mountie walked in the door.

Too high up for starfish, but we did see barnacles and snails in the tiny pools

Said sorry boys, your party I really don't mean to wreck.
I smelled the meat a'cookin' and I had to come in and check.
You see the sheep was stolen and the thief is on the loose.
I said come right in and join us, sir, we're having a piece of moose.

These rocks are cool, can I take some home?

He said thanks a lot and he sat right down and I gave him a piece of the sheep.
This is the finest piece of moose I knows I ever eat.
About two o'clock in the morning he bid us all good-day,
If we get any clues on the sheep, sir, we'll phone you right away.

Going back up is a lot of work!

He said thanks a lot, you're a darn fine bunch, and your promise I know you'll keep.
And if everyone was as good as you she wouldn't have lost her sheep.
After he left we had the piece we had in the oven to roast,
We might have stole the sheep, boys, but the Mountie ate the most.

My Grandad's old accordion

I don't remember what songs my Grandad used to play, I'll have to ask around and see if anyone knows.  It's too bad few folks are playing the accordion anymore, but next time we are home I'll get my sister-in-law Theresa to play some for me to share with everyone. In the meantime here's a YouTube skit someone did to go along with the music for "Aunt Martha's Sheep" - I about died laughing when I started watching it.  Anyone who has been to Newfoundland will recognize that the Newfie humor here is spot on as they would say!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Shuff That in Yer Gob

Charlie and Katrina were on the warpath for some lobster but we just missed lobster season when we visited.  Their season is shorter than in New Brunswick and Maine, unless you get lucky and someone put some in the freezer for you.  I didn't tell them that I saw some thawing out over at Cousin Cliff's house...

Word was out that I had to have a feed of my Newfoundland favorite which is rabbit, so my sister-in-law Theresa obliged and made it even better with some pease pudding, carrots and doughballs (dumplings) with gravy.

Rabbit may have to move over though, because the caribou we got served on our charter trip out to St. Kyran's was fantastic.  My first taste of caribou did not disappoint, and the apricot bread was pretty tasty too!

Wayne's brother Jim makes a plate

 No matter where you go and what they serve you can guarantee they'll be asking you if you'd like a cup of tea.  Lots of orange pekoe in Newfoundland, served with Carnation milk out of the can so if you're lactose intolerant bring along your own substitute!

My Mom, Aunt Agg and me getting a mug-up

And to go with that cup of tea you'll likely see a cupboard full of Purity products.  Lemon Cream crackers used to be my favorite, but now I'm in love with Tea-Vees for their jam filling.  Snacks with tea is called a Mug-Up, if you get asked if you want a Mug-Up the answer is always yes.

Gourmet chocolate is a little harder to come by, but the Newfoundland Chocolate Company's is pretty good and it's even wrapped with Newfie sayings and the colors of the old Republic of Newfoundland flag.  It's easy to find in St. John's and most gift shops have some as well.

You can buy jam on the side of the road, but the best jam I had was in Mt. Pearl homemade by my sister-in-law Alverna.  Served up with fresh pan fried cod and some toutons, my Ducky! (Toutons are fried bread dough, served with molasses, jam or butter or whatever else you can think of) She also gave me an oatmeal chocolate chip raisin cookie that was the recipe of my other sis-in-law, Donnie, so I'll be baking those soon and stocking up the freezer!

Thanks, Alverna!

I've already made some jam from the blueberries and partridgeberries that my Uncle Ronnie picked last year.  I smuggled a gallon sized bag of each home in the freezer of the RV.  There has been Newfoundland berries in my oatmeal since I've been home or jam on my toast every morning!

Nan's fishcake method

Fresh fish is available on Fridays on the side of the road in Placentia, and Wayne picked some up so my Nan could show me how she makes fishcakes.  The salt cod has to be soaked first, but then it's packed together with onions and potatoes and fried up in the pan.

Me and Nan "codding" around

 I wasn't doing it right so I got a tongue lashing.  I can't believe I got my 90 year old Nan to go along with these shenanigans, but she finds me funny and I can always make her laugh.

Charlie and Katrina ready for fishcakes

She was doubtful they would be fit to eat, but when I brought one over to her she popped it in her mouth and the surprise on her face was genuine.  "That's good!" She mumbled through her mouthful of cod and potatoes, and promptly grabbed another one and got to work.  She didn't even wait for a plate and some ketchup!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

From This Place

I found another picture that shows us in Argentia when I was little, this one of me and my father.  I'm pretty sure by the view that this would have been out byhousing on South Barracks Avenue on the North Side but anyone can correct me if I'm wrong.

I found this great map to help me, and if you look closely you can see where the hospital would have been where I was born, it is #17 and down toward the bottom.  I haven't had a chance to show this to my Dad yet and get his feedback, who knows what stories I will hear.

Travers Cove Point is where my Great Grandmother's house was located prior to 1941

Of course I spent a lot of time at my Nan's house, eating Newfoundland dirt.

While I was eating dirt in Freshwater little Wayne was also playing in the gravel yard at his house over in Placentia...

Over the years we went back for many trips which even included Christmas in 1975, when I found out about Santa after discovering the pre-written tags on some gifts.

Me at age 7 (eating again?!) and Uncle Ronnie age 11

A few years later when we were visiting in the summer we went to a garden party I think it might have been in Ship Harbour.  It appears the road wasn't paved yet in any case!

My cousin Cheri, me, and Aunt Rosemary in the back

Since my mother was the oldest of 13 children and I'm the oldest grandchild I spent most of my time with Ronnie and Rosemary since they were just 4 years older than me, but I have great memories of my other aunts and uncles also and as I get older I just keep making more.

My mom and me mugging for the camera with Aunt Agg

This year I've spent a lot of time digging into the history of the Whittle side of our family out at St. Kyran's much to the delight of my Great Uncle Johnny.  Despite all my persistence I was only able to learn so much about my Great Grandmother Hannah Whittle who died so young at age 24 from pulmonary tuberculosis.  I've asked around but no one has ever seen a picture of her and everyone who knew her is no longer with us.  Maybe I'll get lucky one day and learn more,  I'll keep at it.

Johnny and Irene Whittle

There are a lot of connections between Wayne's family and my own.  His mother and my grandmother were school mates back in St. Kyran's, his father and my grandfather both worked on the boats for CN for many years, and his sister Mary and her husband own the grocery store in Freshwater so they know everyone who "belongs" to me as they say up there.  Their daughter married one of my cousins too!

Stop in to Healey's for anything you need

When we go home I try to get my Nan over to visit his mother and even though she is 90 years old she grabbed her cane and we whisked her off to Placentia again this year.

It always warms my heart to see these two reconnect.  They both had tears in their eyes and so did I.

Miss Annie age 90 and Miss Nell age 96

We stayed almost an hour while they swapped stories, and I learned a few new tidbits like Wayne's mother worked in the Priest's house for a short time and that my Nan left school at age 14 to help out a sick family member in Placentia.  When they had dances they usually stayed up all night because it wasn't safe to walk home in the dark.  Though not always because I also learned that when Wayne's father proposed to his mother in the pew at the church they were on their way back from a dance in Clattice Harbour which was miles away and they were passing through the church in the early morning hours as a shortcut when they stopped and he asked her.  My Nan said, imagine that, walking all that way home in the dark after dancing all night!

Nan even got to drink some of the spring water we brought over from St. Kyran's.  I had a sip too, it was delicious!

Today lovely Miss Nell turned 97 years old, she's lived quite a life, all of it in Newfoundland!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Goin' With Gary

Wayne's friend Gary stopped by to take him out exploring the area on their Quads and I decided to tag along, much to Wayne's surprise.

Ready to ride!

Normally I leave the off-roading to him, I prefer to do my exploring without the roar of an engine or the smell of exhaust fumes.  But it is a good way to get around in Newfoundland's terrain and access places harder to get to on foot.

Down to the Argentia area first

Gary took us to spots in Argentia first, where on some days you can see things, but on this day all we saw was fog.

You may recognize this spot from my post the other day.  This is where we were standing when we saw the moose at Annie Healy's lookout.

The fog was lifting a little so that we could see inland, but out on the bay it was still pretty thick.

The wind was roaring along pretty good, so I have no idea what they may have been discussing, or maybe they were saying nothing at all besides "some foggy, wha?"

Other spots we rode to included a couple of ponds heading from Argentia to Dunville.  Sheltered from the wind we did discuss the amazing amount of land the Americans once were using.  On the quad you could ride across it for days probably and keep discovering new things.

Candy bar break

After a candy break and shooting off some guns (I have no idea why, just because boys will be boys, I suppose) we were off again to Dunville.

Wayne thought I was over-reacting when I kept lifting my feet over the wet areas, but my shoes were still soaked when we got back to the camper.  Some sacrifices must be made on adventures.

This used to be the old Newfoundland Railway track through here, where it left Whitbourne and came out to Argentia.  In 1888 a 26 mile branch line was built from Whitbourne to Placentia, and in 1921 a 3.5 mile side track to Argentia was laid.  The railway branch closed in 1984, but it's funny that I don't remember it at all.  I'd say the track out to Placentia was closed long before that and the one to Argentia would not have been visible from the road, not to mention off limits for security reasons as the base was still in operation.

Gary climbed up some rock to point out the view of Seven Island Cove to us.

You can see it from a pull-out on the main road as you go through the town of Dunville, but I'm telling you it doesn't look quite like this, or maybe that was just the high from adventure that made it feel that way!  It's a spot I've told Wayne I want to check out in the kayaks, but we did not have the weather or the time on this visit.

No reason why I want to take the kayaks around the little isles, I'm just nosy and want to see everything.  I get a lot of looks from family members, I'll be honest.  Not all have my explorer's heart, but luckily for me Wayne is the same way.

Back on the trail

We backtracked toward Argentia and then made our way to First Beach.  Can you believe this was Wayne's first visit to First Beach?  That crowd from Placentia didn't see any reason to go hang out with those crazy people in Freshwater on the beach rocks I guess.

He was impressed a little bit, even though he hid it well.

Yes, I know what it's like to ignore your own backyard in favor of remote adventures, but sometimes you miss treasures that way.


Next time we're there we'll have two quads because we left this one there and bought a new one when we got back home that sits the two of us legally.  So maybe I can take the old one out by myself and see what trouble I can get into?  Maybe...

Sometimes I can't believe what I let him talk me into

Here's a video of our ride, what wasn't too shaky to see anyway!